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Canberra Today 8°/13° | Friday, May 24, 2024 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Canberra Confidential / Raiders turn on Barr

THE politics of football have arrived. As the heroic Raiders raise the hopes of a city with a brave dash to the NRL finals, the club is shoulder to shoulder with other community clubs in campaigning loudly and publicly against the Labor Party.

At the recent jam-packed home games against Melbourne Storm and Parramatta Eels, up on the scoreboard big screen came a video warning how Barr-Rattenbury government decisions threaten the very existence of community clubs.

One government minister, on learning that the “imagine Canberra without your local club” video was on the menu at the Storm game, was a last-minute withdrawal from the club’s hospitality suite.

Imagine the angst of the election campaign spin doctors as they tried to blunt the message that Labor and Greens were enemies of the city’s favourite sporting team.

andrew barr
Chief Minister Andrew Barr.

And so it was that Chief Minister Andrew Barr came up with the opportunistic gesture of writing to NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg to change the rules to allow the Canberra Raiders to play a home preliminary final at Canberra Stadium if they earn one.

A letter written when knowing the Raiders had accepted that the rules of the NRL prevented such a transfer of the game from Sydney to Canberra and, in the same missive, asserting that ‘‘the ACT government is proud to support the Raiders and the rugby league brand in the ACT”.

Supporting them, that is, by allowing a foreign-owned casino to siphon off revenue from the Raiders and other Canberra community clubs.

Little wonder the Raiders’ clubs hit back quickly to combat this political hypocrisy. A pull-no-punches email to its thousands of members explained how Barr’s deal with the foreign-owned casino was the last straw.

“The Labor-Green coalition government is killing community clubs,” the email says.

“Over the last four years, 10 per cent of Canberra’s clubs have been forced to close. This is a direct result of decisions taken by Chief Minister Andrew Barr and the ACT Green Shane Rattenbury.

“Chief Minister Barr has now made a decision to support the foreign-owned casino ahead of your local club. If this proposal goes ahead, it will be the last straw for many clubs.

“Canberra’s unique not-for-profit model that ploughs revenue back to the community and into sport and recreational infrastructure will be destroyed. Profits will flow offshore rather than into our local community.”

With an election looming and the Raiders on the ascent, CC wonders how much longer Labor is going to take this scorching grassroots damage to it re-election prospects.

Spotted in Civic… CC hopes the art is better than their spelling.
Spotted in Civic… CC hopes the art is better than their spelling.
Memories of a showgirl

JAN Carter has been rather unflatteringly described as the oldest surviving Sydney Royal Showgirl, but as teenager Jan Hewson, winning the 1963 title changed her life and in a heartbeat made her Goulburn funeral-director father “the happiest undertaker in the state”.

Jan Hewson, 19, with that winning sash. Spotted in Civic… CC hopes the art is better than their spelling.
Jan Hewson, 19, with that winning sash.

Jan is the guest speaker at the Women in Racing’s Spring Racing Charity Lunch (in aid of Multiple Sclerosis) at the Hellenic Club, Woden, on September 2.

These days she’s on the board of the Moruya Jockey Club and for the past 30 years lived on the far south coast, where she breeds horses.

But the sash of fame as the Royal Agricultural Society’s 1963 Showgirl & Global Ambassador for Rural Women is never far away.

“When I won the Royal Showgirl, I was given the keys to the city at a mayoral reception. It gives you confidence for the rest of your life,” she says.

“I had a trip around the world where I met governors’ wives and gave medals at the Chelsea Flower Show, all sorts of things a country kid would not normally be expected to do.”

Booking enquiries before August 30 to


Nic’s going for a song

“SECOND is the first loser!” sniffs single-minded Nichole Overall, who has her steely gaze on winning this year’s looming Canberra Takes 2 charity singing competition with partner-in-song Drew Ashley.

Mayor Overall in the guise of "Timmy Cash".
Mayor Overall in the guise of “Timmy Cash”.

In 2013 husband and Queanbeyan mayor Tim Overall, in the guise of “Timmy Cash”, won the award for highest funds raised.

In aid of SIDS & Kids, the night pairs nine local celebrities with nine singers in a battle of duets. Other teams are Chris Yates/Rebecca Harman; Fiona Vanderhook/Angel Dolejsi; Bree Winchester/Jess Horton; Guilia Jones/Stephanie McAlister; Zoe Sanders/Deanna Gibbs; Suzanne McInnes/Lorena Quinlivan, and Madonna Barr/Cat Meere.

It’s at Queanbeyan’s Bicentennial Hall on Saturday, September 10. Bookings via

Disappearing policy

Capital Metro Minister Simon Corbell.
The retiring Simon Corbell.
AFTER two decades in the Assembly, over 14 ministerial portfolios, retiring Deputy Chief Minister Simon Corbell raised eyebrows with his valedictory claim that same-sex marriage was his great policy achievement.

Hadn’t the Minister for Practically Everything noticed the five-day law was extinguished unanimously by the High Court, which ruled it invalid and annulled any marriages over that period? More a non-achievement.


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Thank you,

Ian Meikle, editor

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