Mammaries, arts and whinging old farts

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Columnist MIKE WELSH covers a lot of ground in this week’s “Seven Days”.

MULTI-mammaried, hot-air balloons and iconic artwork dominated the news, eclipsing even the unveiling of the $500 million expansion of the Australian War Memorial.

Mike Welsh.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison described an architect’s plans for the multi-award-winning attraction as “the most significant reinvestment in our War Memorial since it was established after World War I”.

But it was other future tourist attractions exciting locals. An addition to artist Patricia Piccinini’s Skywhale family and a visit to the National Gallery by one of the world’s most famous paintings, Vincent Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers”.

STILL on balloons – of the lead consistency. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s patronising suggestion the over-60s climb off the scrap heap and offer their “unique and special skills” for a few more years of “heavy lifting” has not gone down well. On the same day came the bleak prediction the capital would lose 400 public service jobs to decentralisation.

It may have been more than a decade ago but I can’t forget sobering words from an HR expert on my radio program: “Anyone over 50 in this town looking for a job interview is already screwed”.

A tweet from Gaye Crispin may have nailed the government’s ignorance and total lack of empathy: “Not enough jobs for Australia’s young people who want to work, buy a home, raise a family, so let’s make the over-60s retrain and send them out to compete against their grandchildren for work and watch it for sport!”

But for boomers keen to upskill and remain in the workforce, a new book, “Innovation + Equality: How to Create a Future That is More Star Trek Than Terminator”, co-authored by member for Fenner Andrew Leigh might be worth a read.

IN 2006 I took a punt on a radio rookie straight out of uni with nothing more than a NSW UAI of 99.86 per cent. In the years since, Michael Thompson has climbed to the top of his craft, establishing the “Ray Hadley Show” (networked to 2CC) as the standard in the fiercely competitive talkback radio genre along the way. Farewelling the multi-award-winning Thompson on Friday, Hadley said: “He took a job at 2CC and the rest is history”. Modesty prevents me from revealing from whom Thompson gained the rare skills and exceptional insights necessary to achieve such success.

IT might be my imagination or cynicism but the latest “Our CBR” (Belconnen edition) looks more like hard election advertising material than fluffy community flyer. Featuring a smiling Chief Minister Andrew Barr on the cover, the glossy publication is filled with headlines such as: “We’re building a new emergency, surgical and critical care facility”, “The ACT government continues to invest in policing to ensure the capital remains one of the safest places in the country” and “The ACT Emergency Services Agency is strengthening its firefighting services by hiring new firefighters”.

THE ACT branch of the United Firefighters Union has used the catastrophic early start to the fire season to launch a social media campaign to “rescue Canberra’s future”.

Under the banner “ACT on FIRE”, the union says: “We need more firefighters in the ACT to keep us safe. Help us tell the Barr government it needs a long-term plan to resource Canberra’s fire services”. 

The union urges locals to “Stand Up For ACT Firefighters and Take Action Now” and calls on the government to “invest in fire and rescue support over the next four years”.

AND the overshare of the week comes from the member for Brindabella Mark Parton. On a trip back to the city of churches, Parto shared: “The sun’s setting on another day in Adelaide. I went for a stroll & dropped in on a pub I used to drink at 30 years ago. I have memories of getting drunk with the late David Hookes at the Earl of Aberdeen and of long boozy lunches with the late Vincent Smith. They were good days”.


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

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