Macklin / Lap one: Shorten takes the lead

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THE election race pulled away with Team Turnbull first in the grid. But “Scomo”, the chief mechanic, had filled the Mercedes’ Budget tank with regular instead of super unleaded.

Robert Macklin
Robert Macklin.

So Team Shorten in the Mini – fuelled by high-octane policy – whipped up on the inside and finished lap one slightly ahead.

And so it goes, a race that makes the Bathurst 1000 look like a sprint.

But while our political leaders are driving their campaigns toward that distant finish line, other big personalities and even onlookers can affect the outcome. Abbott apparatchik Peta Credlin labelling Turnbull “Mr Harbourside Mansion”, for example, played straight into Labor’s tactic of picturing Malcolm as “out of touch” with the ordinary voter.

Bill Shorten has his own image problem as trade union wheeler-dealer. But he clearly shaded the PM in the first leaders’ debate (before a largely Labor audience).

CLOSER to home, Eden Monaro jumped into the frame as the Abbott forces took revenge on the incumbent Lib Peter Hendy for backing Turnbull in the coup.

Abbott is working from the Kevin Rudd playbook: Turnbull to win but only just so the PM remains captive of his right wing. It’s a dangerous game, but hell hath no fury like a PM spurned.

THAT other election across the Pacific also produced some surprises, not least the continuing strength of Democrat Bernie Sanders. With Trump running riot, the smart money, we hear, is betting that Hillary can only be sure of winning in November by naming Bernie as her running mate.

BUT the really big news came from the ANU where researchers took another important step in the battle against cancer. They found a way to prevent infected cells getting the materials needed to build their structures.

Biologist Dr Stefan Broer said: “If you want to assemble a house you need bricks, tiles and timber. For a cancer cell that is fat, carbs and protein. So what we do is block the supply.” But alas, like most “breakthroughs” it could be years before it results in patient cures.

THOSE dodgy diplomats are up to their tricks again. This time it’s the Cambodians who, it seems, have been buying their massive duty free entitlements of booze and cigarettes from a Melbourne outlet, but instead of taking delivery the store sells the goods at the regular retail price and they divvy the profits. We know diplomats are sent to lie for their country, but cheat and deceive?

SPEAKING of cheats, one reason Garran Primary School hit the news this week as being seriously overcrowded, we’re told, is that some parents have claimed rented homes in the catchment area as their home address, but actually live as far away as Crace. A fine tribute to the school… but hardly the done thing.

FINALLY, a fond farewell to Diane Hinds and Morna Whiting, organisers of the wonderful Bus Depot markets, who are selling up after 21 years and taking a well-earned rest. They have made the markets a great experience for Canberrans and visitors alike; and a terrific showcase for regional arts and crafts. The buyers have a pair of very big (and beautifully crafted) shoes to fill.

robert@robertmacklin.com

 

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Robert Macklin
Journalist and author. Contact robert@robertmacklin.com

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