Arrogance competes with spin in bus shemozzle

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ARROGANCE competed with polished corporate lines around the roll out of “the largest ever change to our public transport network” as Canberra’s public transport system’s first major shake up in more than two decades experienced “bedding down” issues.

Mike Welsh.

While many commuters, mostly school students, were confused and angry at the changes, the new timetable’s architects held the line: “The team had spent the past eight months frantically ironing out kinks in the proposed network after a mammoth community consultation period”.

According to responses to “The Canberra Times” Facebook page the day following the launch, only one positive comment from 200. Transport Canberra chief Duncan Edghill said it was a matter of balance, “every time you’re putting a bus in one place… you’re moving it away from another”.

However, Transport Canberra’s executive group manager of transport operations Judith Sturman began the week flippantly describing the new network as “swings and roundabouts” and by Friday was dismissively confident “we had all moved on”.

Canberra Metro’s dirty and tattered Move Live Grow flags. Photo: Mike Welsh

WITH light rail finally rolling, advertising flags promoting a 2018 launch date continue to flutter outside Canberra Metro’s Northbourne Avenue office.

Exactly why the now dirty and tattered Move Live Grow flags are still flapping is unclear. Nostalgia, or is someone in Canberra Metro just too busy to Move Live Grow?

THE Washington strip club expose of former One Nation official Steve Dickson will impact Canberra’s strip clubs. While discretion is the cornerstone of the adult industry, it’s long been accepted many in “the bubble” patronise such establishments during the long, cold, winter sitting months.

An irate One Nation leader Pauline Hanson said while “strip clubs are a perfectly legal business” and “many men in this country have visited one”, they don’t align with her party’s “family values”. Thanks to Dickson, political types will now be much more aware of who’s watching.

Participants in the Sydney-to-Melbourne, inaugural Red Shield Ride pass through Canberra. Photo: Mike Welsh

TWENTY five super fit cyclists passed through the capital midweek en route to Melbourne, fundraising for the Salvos. The riders, who left the Sydney Cricket Ground on April 29, planning to reach the Melbourne Cricket Ground by May 8, are competing in the inaugural Red Shield Ride which has an entry requirement of $5000. As of May 4, the riders had raised almost $210,000 which goes to support the Salvos’ work in providing shelter for the homeless, assisting families in crisis and guiding people with addictions.

DESPITE the orchestrated Dump Zed campaign, ACT Liberal Senator Zed Seselja found time in his busy re-election campaign schedule to door knock in the Sydney electorate of Warringah for former PM Tony Abbott. ACT independent Senate candidate Anthony Pesec tweeted a picture of campaigners including Zed and MP Sussan Ley proudly wearing “Team Tony” T-shirts.

Pesec pledged to “be dedicated to being a real voice for Canberra not to helping my hard-right mates cling to their seats”.

UNITED Australia Party leader Clive Palmer described comments purportedly made by his candidate in the new ACT seat of Bean as “not acceptable”. The ABC reported a Facebook post account, since deleted, in the name of (UAP) candidate Tony Hanley calling Saudi Arabians “tea-towel heads” and referring to children of taxi drivers as “future terrorists”.

Hanley’s stumbles may have cost politics a true visionary. In a 2016 Facebook post Hanley urged the Canberra Libs to “stop playing by the Marquis of Queensbury rules and become street fighters”. Last week Liberal MLA Mark Parton labelled the party’s Federal team as “street fighters”.

Also in 2016 Hanley posted “Clive Palmer has lost over 20 kilos and will be back. WARNING I TOLD YOU ALL SO!”

FURTHER confirmation of Canberra’s mantle of being well ahead of the IT curve, with Google offshoot Wing getting the green light to conduct drone deliveries in the US. The Federal Aviation Administration has approved Wing’s plans to operate deliveries in the state of Virginia. The FAA says Wing “met the agency’s safety requirements by participating in a pilot program in Virginia and by conducting flights in Australia”.


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


  1. Complaints about the removal of dedicated school-bus services, in order to release enough buses to operate the new network, may be caused by an overall shortage of buses. According to, ACTION today has almost exactly the same number of buses it had in 1989, despite Canberra’s population growing by 50% since that date, together with the population becoming more geographically widespread. If we had 50% more buses, imagine the improvement in frequency. We may even have enough buses to provide proper dedicated school-bus services.

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