Welsh / That was the year that was, Seven Days at a time

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EMBOLDENED by a record “Yes” same-sex vote, 2018 loomed like a piece of rainbow cake for Chief Minister Andrew Barr.

Without an effective opposition, Barr could have expected to stroll unmolested through the year, triumphantly riding a shiny red tram down Northbourne Avenue at year’s end, the cherry on top.

But inexplicably he blotted his copybook, berating a mature demographic for its “small-town, 1940s, backwards mindset” attitude to skyscrapers around the city. Then got offside with the Fourth Estate with his “I hate journalists” and “I’m over mainstream media” confession.

The starlings of Civic have spoken on dock-less hire bikes. Photo by Mike Welsh

MAINTAINING our mantle of a jurisdiction at the vanguard of change, we tested pills at music festivals, began to further relax our already loose marijuana laws and scored a big brownie badge as “early adopters” by allowing drones to ferry fast food and pharmaceuticals across our skies. We also remained ahead of the social media curve as the highest Twitter users in the land. And we smashed a record, giving the ANU the “Guinness Book of World Records” title of “the most people simultaneously looking at the sky”. The jury is still out on dock-less hire bikes despite a clear judgement by the starlings of Civic.

FEW cities can boast a genuine Royal doppelganger.

Belconnen waitress and Meghan Markle look-alike Stephanie Murray scored two shots of global fame thanks to the May nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan and a successful downunder October trip. Still on copycats and Belco’s Owl (penis) has competition. Locals in Kikinda, Serbia, snigger at the phallus-like statue in their town but another – in the Welsh village of Pengam – apparently trumps both.

OUR trusty Federal reps stumbled through the year. Senator Zed Seselja as numbers man, miscalculated prime ministerial aspirant Peter Dutton’s support in yet another leadership coup and Katy Gallagher fell foul of Section 44 of the Constitution. In the “other place” Gai Brodtmann retired and Andrew Leigh was mocked by a shock jock.

Up went the fences at Parliament House. Photo by Mike Welsh

OUR institutions held their own. An “inconspicuous” 2.6-metre-high steel fence erected to keep undesirables off the roof of our seat of democracy was unveiled without fanfare as the house below celebrated 30 years.

The War Memorial’s brilliant poppy display marking the centenary of the 1918 Armistice. Photo by Mike Welsh

THE Australian War Memorial continued to stun, winning high praise and generous funding, peaking with the brilliant centenary of the 1918 Armistice poppy display.

FOR Raiders’ mentor Ricky Stuart, 2018 was “the most frustrating period of my career”. Not a complete loss: the dual international was inducted into the NRL Hall of Fame and Mal Meninga was elevated to Legend status.

OUR on/off relationship with tennis brat Nick Kyrgios ended the year back ON after he returned home to conduct clinics with local youngsters.

GREYHOUND racing in the capital was “put down” but not before People’s Choice, a greyhound once known as Nugget won a string of races.

THE PM’s XI failed to draw a crowd, but to be fair, the new captain probably had other things occupying the space under his baggy green.

THE man who did his darndest to drain the capital of public servants, Barnaby Joyce, confessed to doing some of his best work “carousing Canberra bars” and on “sleepless nights praying to a ‘special’ rock at Red Hill”.

TOP-secret documents found in a second-hand, rusty filing cabinet in Fyshwick exposed an embarrassing flaw in the system, making it “one of the biggest breaches of cabinet security in our history”.

The National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse brought closure for thousands, including Canberra man Chris who’d suffered almost daily for 60 years after being raped as an eight-year-old.

WITH a question mark hovering over which problematic and controversial public transport initiative will launch first, the much-revised school-bus timetable or the light rail project, Andrew Barr might want to bone up on Mussolini. A canny politician, even he knows he has fallen short of the Italian dictator’s (alleged) shameless political refuge of at least “making the trains run on time”.


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

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