Bikie inmates accused of ruling the prison roost

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Bikie inmates have accused of ruling the ACT prison roost, reports “Seven Days” columnist MIKE WELSH.

OUTLAW motorcycle gang members incarcerated at the Alexander Maconochie Centre are ruling the roost.

Mike Welsh.

According to a whistleblower, “an unhealthy association exists between some prison officers and bikies”.

The controversial correctional centre was in lockdown for much of the week after a hole was discovered in the perimeter fence. Authorities feared contraband (possibly firearms) had been smuggled through the breach, triggering a comprehensive search.

According to the whistleblower, who contacted the Ray Hadley radio show (broadcast locally on 2CC), officers are fearful for their own safety. Also revealed, the hole was discovered in a section of the outer fence known to be a blind spot not closely covered by CCTV cameras.

THE issue of potentially combustible cladding on local buildings has created a dilemma for the Barr government. Around 70 have been identified as possibly being constructed with the dangerous outer layer.

ACT building minister Gordon Ramsay has chosen not to publish details, fearing the buildings could become targets for terrorists and arsonists.

However, as pictured here, a clear sign on the scaffolding around the base of a privately owned building in Civic demolishes Ramsay’s rationale.

Photo: Mike Welsh

THERE has always been plenty of chatter of a very fast train involving the territory. But while talk is cheap, the concept has picked up steam with some major players talking up a high-speed train between Sydney and Canberra.

“Australian Financial Review” economics journalist Matthew Cranston reports: “The chief executive of Australia’s largest property developer, Stockland’s Mark Steinert, has joined calls for the Federal government to commit to funding a Sydney to Canberra high-speed train and other rail projects”.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr has undertaken to attempt to get the Commonwealth excited and on board before the next election. 

And Canberra Airport’s managing director Stephen Byron, who has “always been positive about a fast rail”, says: “We have it in our masterplan of the airport, available for public consultation.”

The “ONE” sculpture at the University of Canberra.

WHEN it comes to popular public art, Canberra does not have an enviable record. But that has changed somewhat with the unveiling of the stunning “ONE” sculpture at the University of Canberra. Funded by a gift from Dr Naren Chellappah OAM the self-supporting, stainless-steel, triangulated structure stands on the western concourse between Buildings 5 and 8.

The work is by Geoffrey Drake-Brockman, chosen from eight artists invited to submit a design.

UC vice-chancellor Prof Deep Saini says the work “best encompassed Dr Chellappah’s values of truth, non-violence, love and peace”.

THE recent horrific exposé of an abattoir’s extreme cruelty to retired racehorses on the ABC’s “7.30” program may have pricked the collective conscience of Canberra’s once-a-year horse-racing fans. 

According to Canberra animal rights activist group Anti Speciesist Action Collective, protesting at Thoroughbred Park on Melbourne Cup day: “The crowd was more muted than last year with very few people making eye contact and actively avoiding us”. 

The group says a request by management to “move further away” might suggest a “change in the acceptance of the event and the industry”.

The Harmonie German Club’s large chunk of the Berlin Wall. 
Photo: Mike Welsh

THE Berlin wall fell 30 years ago, but large slabs of it stand all over the world, including here in Canberra.

Narrabundah’s Harmonie German Club is one of 237 sites globally displaying a large chunk of the 160-kilometre wall that separated the democratic West from the Communist East from 1961 to 1989.

FAKE news’ effectiveness should never be underestimated. A press release to announce a meeting to relaunch the Oxley branch of Neighbourhood Watch fell on deaf media ears. According to Neighbourhood Watch (voluntary) media man Ian McLean, the lack of interest from “the public-spirited local press” was due to “the advent of spring; their pages were filled with the usual seasonal snippets on magpie swooping, hay fever, school holidays, dogs off leashes, and a host of other annual rehashes”.

Ian says next time, a fictional piece along the lines of “Neighbourhood Watch letterbox deliverers getting bitten by off-leash dogs and attacked by magpies, whilst sneezing due to high levels of pollen” might cut through.


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

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