Chief Minister takes the time to take his vows

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It was a big week for the Chief Minister and another interesting week for Canberra. “Seven Days” columnist MIKE WELSH reports.

IT’S been a big week on a personal level for our Chief Minister. Andrew Barr married his partner of 20 years Anthony Toms in Newcastle, Anthony’s home town. 

Mike Welsh.

Barr announced the “small family” event on Twitter: “Anthony and I married yesterday on our 20th anniversary and 10th anniversary of our civil partnership”. Barr also thanked family and friends for “love and support”, and the “7.8 million Australians (and especially the 175,000 Canberrans) who voted ‘yes’ to marriage equality”.

CANBERRA businessman Terry Snow won’t lose sleep over slipping down the latest “Australian Business Review’s” Australia’s Richest 250 list. The executive chairman of the Canberra Property Group remains in the rarified airspace of the list’s top quarter holding #57 with an estimated pile of $1.52 billion after being rated #52 last year. The attached “ABR” blurb says Snow “sold his Capital Property Trust in 1996 and two years later bought Canberra Airport from the Federal government for $65 million in one of the country’s shrewdest property deals”.

HIGH-visibility policing took on new meaning after a picture was posted on social media of AFP officers conducting an operation dressed as tradies. The picture showed three men, fresh from Seears Workwear, surrounding a vehicle in the city. The post quickly amassed more than 500 comments ranging from the “neatness” of the faux tradies to the ethical issue of entrapment. A later police statement said the operation was “sweet as” and “too easy”.

The lush lawn of Parliament House. Photo: Mike Welsh

THE Canberra Bubble hasn’t escaped the out-of-control bushfire blame game currently spreading across the nation. “The Australian’s” Alice Workman reported: “It might surprise taxpayers to learn they forked out roughly $559,897 to water Parliament House in the 2018-19 financial year. 

“The stark contrast between red dirt and evergreen grass (mowed in a striped pattern and soaked by sprinklers) is often a shock to tourists who have driven through the drought-ravaged bush to get to our nation’s capital. 

“Given the people’s house is literally built into a hill, that’s a lot of lawn to keep luscious for our Federal politicians”.

“MANAGER to the stars” John Fordham has succumbed to throat cancer. Better known as “Fordo” or “Jack”, the 75-year-old died surrounded by family. But there was one “family” member missing, the first player Fordo managed and often referred to as his “third son”, Ricky Stuart.

The “Sydney Morning Herald’s” Andrew Webster tells how when it was clear Stuart, driving from Canberra to say goodbye, wasn’t going to make it, Fordo’s son Nick put him on speaker phone.“They spoke for a few minutes, he was able to say goodbye, it was a highly emotional call,” reports Webster.

A TIP for anyone planning to use Parliament House’s iconic roof to make a political point: pack a toothbrush and a sleeping bag. A 63-year-old man will face the ACT Magistrates Court next month after climbing to the crest of the building, unfurling a “Free Assange” banner and threatening not to come down until the WikiLeaks founder was freed from a British prison. He reportedly asked onlookers to send up a sleeping bag, but after several minutes ended the protest and surrendered to police.

A FRESH safety campaign around light rail has been released. Transport Minister Chris Steel has posted Transport Canberra dash-cam footage featuring examples of careless and cavalier behaviour near trams. The latest video shows all the usual close calls with several examples of people using the tramline as a foot/bike path.

MEANTIME, a Gungahlin man has crunched the numbers and detailed what we could have done with the money expended on the project. Working with the “official” government costings of $872 million our armchair economist calculates every second house in Canberra could get a new, four-cylinder car. And all Canberra’s 1500 homeless people could have a fully furnished, three-bedroom unit with enough left over for another 500 units. These figures are not fact checked.


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

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