Canberra Confidential / When mother knows best

“MY hero is Mum. When I got my own police station she knitted me a teddy bear. I was hoping for a coffee mug,” writes Canberra prosecutor and former policeman Paul Sweeney in a sweet post on Facebook earlier this month that has clocked up a staggering 142,000 likes and 25,653 shares.

Paul Sweeney drops off some more of his mum’s quilts and bears.

Paul Sweeney drops off some more of his mum’s quilts and bears.

He says he told his mum he was too old for a teddy bear.

But she was having none of it saying: “Firstly, you’re not. No one is. Secondly, it’s not for you. It’s a trauma bear, for any kid you think needs it.”

Paul picks up the story: “Three months later I’m asking a little boy to do a big job. There was a scared bear in my police truck that needed looking after. And, while his world dissolved in sirens and lights, that boy kept that bear safe and took him home.

“Mum has made hundreds of things since. Trauma bears for victims of crime, quilts to warm rehabilitating drug addicts during the chill of withdrawal, booties and mittens for premature babies. There’s something in the stitching, a kind of grandma magic, I suppose.

“Mum’s my hero and, since she’s not on Facebook, if you message me I’ll pass it on.”

Candidate with a smile

Cartoon - FINALWITH a campaign T-shirt describing him as “action man, local dad, good listener, nice guy and bald”, there’s no surprise that Labor candidate for the new and untested ACT Assembly seat of Murrumbidgee (Weston Creek) Mark “Kula” Kulasingham is keen to use humour to stand out from the vote-for-me pack hurtling to the October election. The affable marketing guy and former political apparatchik, has beaten the newspaper cartoonists by using a big-smiling caricature of himself on all his election stuff.  

When less is more competition

WITH frustrated Chief Minister Andrew Barr publicly (and correctly) bemoaning the massive grip Coles and Woolies have on the ACT grocery market, Business Chamber CEO Robyn Hendry’s effusively supportive statement welcoming the ACCC’s decision to not oppose Coles’ acquisition of five Canberra-owned Supabarn supermarkets seemed odd. After all, this is the diminution of local ownership and a setback for regional suppliers, surely?

“We do not think this sale will diminish competition,” she says, trotting out the increasing number of (German) Aldi stores and the opening of a (US) Costco store as evidence of diversity.

But CC thinks the real reason is not the tightening grip of national retail chains, but where she says: “We are pleased this decision supports local business owners being able to move forward with their lives and sell their businesses when they need to.”


IMG_0710Getting to know you

THE Member for Canberra, Gai Brodtmann, is discovering new constituents north of the lake with the recent Federal redistribution tipping her southern constituency into a few suburbs in the inner north.

And so, with an election looming, her caravan headed over the unchartered Commonwealth Bridge and she set up her mobile office in Civic, plonked out the sandwich board replete with smiley face and an invitation to “come over and say hello”.  

Barnaby’s Windsor knot

CC’s Weston snout and, seemingly, protector-general of Canberra, John Milne, whose keen ambition to rid Canberra of the decentralist deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, has taken comfort in the former independent member for New England, Tony Windsor, being persuaded to return to the Parliament by standing against Joyce in the NSW electorate.

“Political analysts believe he could unseat him,” says Milne. “Then Barnaby, not Canberra, would be decentralised!”


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