Welsh / Cricket’s harbinger to ScoMo’s political innings?

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IN the middle of a horror week for the iconic baggy green the once eagerly anticipated PM’s XI cricket match at Manuka failed to draw anywhere near a respectable crowd.

Mike Welsh
Mike Welsh.

An embarrassingly low 1824 fans attended the one-day clash between Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s team and the visiting Proteas. Could the lack of interest in ScoMo’s one-day debut reflect his current political standing or was it simply poor promotion?

While non-sporting Lodge dwellers Paul Keating and Kevin Rudd couldn’t get excited about the PM’s XI, it took a larrikin sports fanatic and a nerdy cricket tragic to resurrect and cultivate the iconic event. In the 2010 biography “Hawke”, Blanche d’Alpuget writes that nearing the end of his first year in power (January, 1984) “Hawke decided to revive a tradition which had died with Menzies; a Prime Minister’s XI cricket team”. The tradition was enthusiastically nurtured by John Howard during his lengthy stay at the political crease.

ACROSS town at another of our iconic institutions there was a very big and positive number being spruiked. Australian War Memorial director Brendan Nelson announced funding of almost $500 million to extend the site.

Down in Hobart, where Nelson spent a decade in general practice before entering Federal politics, the local newspaper severely devalued the good doctor’s exciting announcement. The “Mercury” reportedly ran – for a short period – the headline “Australian War Memorial to undergo $500 expansion”.

A LARGE elephant in the room for Canberra Liberals was exposed again during a recent radio chat. After impressively and comprehensively explaining a mid-term recalibration of major policies, leader Alistair Coe was quizzed on a recent comment, by retired Labor minister John Hargreaves, suggesting the Canberra Libs lacked the “attack-dog mongrel” of former leader Jeremy Hanson. Coe’s limp and predictable reply did nothing to alter this negative perception.

STILL on the wireless and apparently it’s very difficult to “hide” a familiar voice when calling talkback radio. The “Sydney Morning Herald’s” CBD columnist Kylar Loussikian reports on a call to Canberra’s ABC 666 from “Andre”, of Lyons, who was cranky with Action buses over its new timetable. When questioned by the presenter “Andre” admitted to being  the ABC’s political editor Andrew Probyn, who was calling to register his “disappointment” with the new bus timetable which he says will impact hundreds of schoolchildren, including his own.

AND for some seriously famous voices it’s nigh on impossible to disguise your identity when calling radio stations. Years ago working on Port Macquarie radio I took an on-air call from “Jack” at Coffs Harbour who was distressed over a lost dog. “Jack” turned out to be the iconic Australian actor Jack Thompson whose beloved blue heeler had bolted from the actor’s farm in the Coffs hinterland.

THE mother of young skaters who use the Civic skate bowl is concerned at how filthy and unsafe the area has become. The woman, whose youngest is seven years old, says she often has to clean the bowl of broken bottles and fast-food wrappers and is also wary of drug and drink-affected people who wander through the facility. But recently finding a discarded syringe at the site has seriously alarmed her.

Sam and Emily, at Bakers Delight in the Lanyon Marketplace… mixing a ghostly guise with their regular friendly service. Photo Mike Welsh

CANBERRANS are seemingly embracing Halloween. Already a favourite with kids, adults are now reportedly roaming the neighbourhood in creepy costumes aping the time-honoured tradition of the country which gave us candy, cookies and cowboys.

But at least one “responsible” parent, from the dental industry, absolved their guilt by including sample tubes of toothpaste with the sticky treats given out.

And while many “old school” types still poo-poo the pagan ritual as further “Americanisation of Australia”, shopping centres across the capital came alive with colourful costumes and spooky sights as retail workers got into the spirit of the festival.

At Bakers Delight in the Lanyon Marketplace, Sam and Emily decided to mix a ghostly guise with their regular friendly service.


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

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