“Before we get carried away, there remains many issues to be resolved such as the NCA’s wondrously stupid backing of the ACT government’s off-the-planet proposal for suburb developments along West Basin,” writes PAUL COSTIGAN
THE nation’s classified documents are securely back under lock and (spare) key, but what of Canberra’s other, more salacious, “political” secrets?
Has Barnaby’s “Bundle of Joyce” turned turning a blind eye on its head in regard to politicians’ away-from-home hanky panky? Not since Laurie Oakes’ expose on the Gareth Evans/Cheryl Kernot affair have the sex-scandal spot fires been fanned so dangerously close to a bushfire, beyond even the reach of those employed to douse titillating tabloid titbits.
ON that other political scuttlebutt staple – leadership speculation – Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek looms as a serious contender.
On election night, December 3, 2007, the member for Sydney and I chatted as we slowly shuffled forward in a long queue for entry to the National Tally Room at Epic. I stated the bleeding obvious that in a few hours she’d be a government minister. Plibersek smiled and diplomatically said: “One step at a time, Mike”. It’s time she took the next step.
WAS former ACL boss Lyle Shelton referring to the political bubble or the world’s third-best city when he suggested Canberra was busted? On joining Cory Bernardi’s conservative movement Shelton declared: “After living in Canberra for more than a decade, fighting for truth and freedom, I can tell you that Canberra is broken”. Surely Lyle, no media novice, hasn’t made the same irritating mistake many Canberra bashers make when venting against the Federal government, ignoring the existence of a lively city filled with real Australians.
RELUCTANT “political bubble” dweller Bob Katter is back in print but my tip is real Canberrans won’t be busting down the doors of book sellers for a copy of “Conversations with Katter: On politics, life and the things that matter”. The book may sell marginally better across the border in Queanbeyan where the member for Kennedy prefers to bunk down when in Canberra. In 2016 Katter described Canberra as a “soulless place” adding that “Queanbeyan is more personable; if you say hello to a person they smile”. And on “things that matter”, is it acceptable for such books to be littered with typos?
WHILE Lyle and Bob aren’t fans of the real Canberra, actor Sam Neill has reportedly fallen for the city, or at least one of its inhabitants. According to a piece in “The Australian” promoted as “Sam Neill’s Canberra romance”, the NZ-born thespian and “The Australian Financial Review’s” political editor Laura Tingle are “an item”. Ms Tingle, daughter of former radio journalist and founder of the NSW Shooters Party John Tingle, did not comment on the report.
FORMER Canberra boy Paul McDermott’s many talents are back on display.
The one-time Doug Anthony All-Star, sporting a full grey beard and heavy rimmed specs excels as ringmaster of ABC TV’s “Think Tank” quiz show (weeknights at six). The 55-year-old, who began his artistic journey at Dickson College, delivers wit and intelligence sadly missing in the 6pm game-show genre.
THERE was irony in the selling of a frontbench shake-up by ACT Opposition Leader Alistair Coe, which CM Andrew Barr predictably sniped, was “shuffling the deckchairs”. In adding the troublesome Planning portfolio to Mark Parton’s work pile, the man who leads the nation’s longest-serving opposition heaped praise on the former disc-jockey. Coe said that Parton was a “great communicator” and that the added responsibility would “complement” his existing roles. Coe can revamp as often as he likes, but until there’s a “great communicator” leading the Canberra Liberals he’ll remain Opposition Leader.
IN a city of rapidly vanishing parking spots comes an innovative concept. “You are ILLEGALLY parked flyers” are popping up under the windscreen wipers of scores of vehicles illegally parked at the Canberra International Sports and Aquatic Centre in Belconnen. No, the ACT government hasn’t gone soft on parking miscreants. It appears that at peak time paid parking (operated by CISAC) is at a premium, tempting many to create spots which don’t exist.