Absent Andrew misses the ‘Canberra’ buzz 

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Chief Minister Andrew Barr felt the need to be elsewhere spruiking Canberra when Scott Morrison and the Raiders were doing it for him. It’s another “Seven Days” in Canberra, this week with IAN MEIKLE.

AS the name “Canberra” resonates across the country (well, east coast) and the world (especially Washington), one wonders if Chief Minister Andrew Barr might have better spent his time and our money enjoying the glorious spring weather in town this past week.

Ian Meikle.

The chief frequent flyer headed overseas again, this time on a $17,000 swing with a staff member to spruik tourism and trade to Malaysia and Singapore.

And while he was away, PM Scott Morrison was bringing the focus of the world to the national capital as the “New York Times” sensationally broke the story of desperate Donald Trump’s call for help from Canberra. 

And those mighty Canberra Raiders were feted by thousands along the roadside as the team bus snaked its optimistic way out of town for the big final in Sydney. 

No matter the result (they heroically lost), the Green Machine’s triumphant first rugby league final in a quarter of a century was always going to be a winner for Canberra and a great, post-winter morale booster for the city, especially after the ACT government’s expensively grafted “local” AFL team, GWS, was totally outclassed in its sad grand final debut in Melbourne the weekend before. 

OF all his days in court over the past 30 years, those of the past week must be shaping up for David Harold Eastman as the most bitter-sweet as he pursues a claim for 19 years of wrongful imprisonment. 

Acquitted last year of the 1989 murder of ACT police chief Colin Winchester, the 74-year-old former public servant has declined an act-of-grace payment from the territory and is chasing at least $18 million in compensation from the Supreme Court. 

Speaking in court, Eastman bemoaned “the loss of opportunity to get married and have children, which was a dream, the loss of opportunity to pursue a career” and characterised the miserable and confronting conditions of his detention. 

To date, the case has cost ACT taxpayers $30 million, with more to come if Eastman’s claim succeeds. 

ACT Transport Minister Chris Steel fronted an Australian Transport Research Forum to share the results of a 12-month trial of “alternative fuel” buses. 

He means electric buses and readers will be unsurprised to learn that they performed best in relation to environmental emissions and energy efficiency. But when it comes to actually being a bus, the diesels were more reliable and cheaper to run. It’s all for nought because the government is planning anyway to transition to a zero-emission (electric) fleet by 2040 by which time, given the minister’s boyish good looks, he will be about 35 and chief minister. 

THE drought is taking some of the steam out of the reopened Canberra Railway Museum. The crowd-pleasing steam train rides have been deferred until next year due to the “higher risk” imposed by the dry conditions. Three years after spiralling into liquidation, director John Cheeseman is inviting the community to visit the museum at 2 Geijera Place, Kingston, 10am-3pm, on any Sunday to learn about the contribution rail has made to our region and the nation.

A NEW ear-cleaning service called Earworx, which has opened a couple of outlets in medical centres north and south, misguidedly offered journos a free dewaxing when the real beneficiaries would have been members of the Legislative Assembly. 

Perhaps not the well-regarded Speaker Joy Burch, who in recent days has had to stare down “new-faces” reformists to hang on to preselection for her place in Labor’s Brindabella ticket in next year’s ACT election. 

Her south-seat and re-preselected stablemate Mick Gentleman might benefit though, given that the oft-criticised Planning Minister’s selective hearing is well known when it comes to the concerns of ratepayers. 

And six things you didn’t know about earwax from Earworx founder Lisa Hellwege: it’s an odour meter; it reflects your ethnicity; it changes colour; it senses stress; it’s an insect repellent and it fights infection. 

AFTER a recent, bristling “CityNews” column on petrol, ex-pollie Michael Moore is emerging as something of a Michael Moore (the American activist) when it comes to Canberra’s pump-price gougers. Leaving town late in the week, he reports cocking a snoot at the servos proffering diesel at 159.9 cents a litre and smugly topping up at out-of-town Boorowa for 151.5 cents. 

Regular columnist Mike Welsh is on leave.

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Ian Meikle, editor

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Ian Meikle
Ian Meikle is the owner and editor of "CityNews".

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