Welsh / Sharing shines when Bill comes to breakfast

Bill for breakfast… Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, left, join the Micah group on the lawns of Parliament House. Photo by Mike Welsh

THINGS were a little different on the front lawns of Parliament House on May 9.

It was the iconic building’s 30th birthday and also the morning after the Federal Budget, but missing was the circus of TV network outside broadcasts or the protests of noisy union rallies.

Instead the young Christian group Micah had laid out a breakfast banquet, politely countering the Budget’s drop in foreign aid with: “We have plenty to share and we can give more”. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten accepted the invitation to break bread with them.

MEANTIME Shorten quickly leapt to punted ACT senator Katy Gallagher’s defence after the High Court halted her political dream run, ruling her ineligible to sit in the Senate. The Opposition Leader was joined by Labor Senate leader Penny Wong in claiming the former ACT Chief Minister was “too good to lose”.

Ms Gallagher’s years of serving the ACT are not forgotten, either. Following the High Court ruling, former Gungahlin Jets AFL club president Joe Cortese hit Facebook to declare the club’s gratitude.

“Some are not aware that when Katy G was Chief Minister her government donated $40,000 to help the club at a time when our Federal grant was withdrawn by the newly elected LNP government,” he wrote.

“Ms Gallagher your understanding of our situation at the time was appreciated, thanks to you the Gungahlin Jets has a club facility to call its own.”

ELSEWHERE, Katy’s Legislative Assembly successor had a much better week. Our Chief Minister is among the leading pack of LGBTI leaders. Andrew Barr joined Qantas CEO Alan Joyce on the Deloitte and Google 50 Outstanding Australian LGBTI leaders list.

Barr, in need of some good PR after his “I hate journalists” spray, described his inclusion as “very kind” adding, “it is very important that young, and not so young, LGBTI people and people struggling with their sexuality have successful role models to look up to”.

STILL on lists and the most-trusted-professions index does not yet include lobbyists, but two famous practitioners of vocations that perpetually dwell at its base have bagged those who lurk at the edge of politics. On a Parliament House 30th anniversary discussion panel, press gallery legend Michelle Grattan described lobbying as a “sunrise industry” lamenting its spread across the new house. Former Hawke and Keating governments minister Prof Gareth Evans – a member of the committee that chose the winning entry for the iconic building – recalled dealing with lobbyists as “creepy”.

HOWEVER a former chief of staff to John Howard strongly disagrees. Political insider Grahame Morris, a director of the largest lobbying firm in Canberra, says: “It depends on who you ask” as to the standing of his number.

Morris estimates the broader community would probably rate lobbyists “down with the journos and pollies”. But said “those who get results including industry and charities (some of whom benefit from pro-bono work) would rate us in the top 10”. Morris confidently added: “The profession is here to stay.”

PENCIL in the name Darcey Bush as a future national sporting champion. The Yass swimming sensation was named Open Sportsperson of the Year at the Yass Valley Sports Council awards after a stellar year in not one but two sports.

Bush’s impressive achievements in the pool include gold medals at both ACT and NSW Country Championships and qualifying for the Pacific Schools Games. The teenager also excels at both rugby league and union being named in the ACT Oztag team to compete at the NSW and National Championships.

IF you think there are more abandoned vehicles around the capital lately, you’d be right. Stats from the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council reveal a massive leap in stolen vehicles. The data shows the 2017 figure (1321) eclipsed 2016 stats (939) and almost doubled (678) thefts recorded in 2013.

As for the latest trend of “couch dumping”, which seems to be increasingly popular, there are no stats to share.


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