Welsh / Lucky, well-heeled us, we get another pollie…

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STATISTICALLY, we Canberrans appear to be a bunch of well-heeled heathens.

Mike Welsh
Mike Welsh.

The controversial 2016 census stats are in and it turns out more Canberrans are losing their religion and receiving the highest national pay packet. Over 34 per cent of Canberrans ticked the “no religion” option, up almost 12 per cent on the 2011 count. And, in a city with a median weekly wage of $998 and already awash with pollies, the latest population headcount at just over 400,000 also qualifies us for greater representation in the House of Reps.

THE periodic gathering of information provides thousands of pieces of seemingly useless but vital information to ensure an orderly future for our nation. But are we really getting value for money? What about digging up some different data that would at least provide unimaginative breakfast radio people with entertaining content. For example, which Canberra suburb boasts the most private tennis courts? Hawker’s my tip, but we’ll have to wait and see if that mystery is solved the next time a “snapshot” is taken.

John Barilaro.

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro says the ACT government’s ban on greyhound racing creates an opportunity for his electorate to embrace the sport. The member for Monaro says a greyhound racing track could be established at Queanbeyan. It may also be prudent to consider adding a pacing circuit. Despite a five-year funding deal on the table from the ACT there’s a suspicion harness racing is under threat as the government bends over further to appease the Greens. Pigeon fanciers are also understood to be getting a bit nervous.

John Hargreaves.

STILL in the menagerie; former Labor MLA and minister John Hargreaves is threatening to set the cat among the pigeons over a new plan to contain moggies in the ACT. Presently a dozen Canberra suburbs are zoned for “cat containment” but there’s pressure for the policy to be extended to cover the entire region. Hargreaves, who has two cats, says: “I would be very, very upset if the law changed that said: ‘You have to put a cat run up’.” Asked if civil disobedience was on the cards, the forthright Hargreaves said: “Yep”.

A BAN on smoking at a further 3000 sites around the territory may also spark acts of civil disobedience. Smokers, already forced to skulk in desperate huddles on the outer reaches of society, are being asked to abstain around bus stops, taxi shelters and train stations, which may just be the final straw that breaks the (unfiltered) camel’s back.

CANBERRA men are about to lose another authentic avenue to sartorial eloquence with the imminent closure in Bunda Street of John Hanna Fine Clothes for Men.

The John Hanna fashion journey began at suburban Kippax Fair in the ’70s before moving upmarket to the iconic European-style showroom in Civic. Hanna says it’s time for him to slow down but he will miss the challenge of staying one step ahead of fickle fashion trends.

Hanna has dressed many famous men along the way, but is coy on providing details. One such tale might involve AFL bad boy Ben Cousins, on the run from a salivating media pack several years ago, popping in to purchase a pair of socks.

FANS of the man they call “golden tonsils” will be pleased to know there’s a new book out about the great broadcaster. “Lawsie –  Well… you wanted to know” is John Laws’ replies to a series of questions put to him over a year.

Has the nearly 82-year-old, who kept the dream alive on 2CC for many years, mellowed?

“No, I’m still as angry as I ever was,” he told me.

Famous for legendary long lunches, he does compliment his one-time adversary Alan Jones as “a competent broadcaster and fun to have lunch with”.

Would he break bread with former understudy Ray Hadley?

“I only have lunch with people I like,” was the curt reply.

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Mike Welsh
Mike Welsh is a serial blogger and former Canberra radio presenter.

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