MIKE WELSH wraps up another week of life in the national capital.
NEWSHOUNDS were sent scurrying early on Thursday after initial reports “a big dude going nuts and having a meltdown” at a Barton hotel was a politician. Recently elected Victorian Labor MP Will Fowles was apparently displeased with the service at the Abode and attempted to kick down a locked storage room door to access his luggage.
IT didn’t take long for the famed Aussie sense of humour to hit social media. Gideon Rozner, of the Institute of Public Affairs, was quick off the mark, tweeting: “Well, at least Will Fowles will be able to get a cushy job as a lobbyist once he’s forced out of parliament. He does have a knack of ‘opening doors’ in Canberra”.
AND journalist Josh Taylor chimed in with the cutting character assessment: “Never before has a ‘don’t-you-know-who-I-am’ resulted in more people knowing who someone was”.
FOR those who don’t know who he is, in a 2005 profile Gabriella Coslovich wrote in “The Age” that Fowles was a “consummate performer; boisterous, funny, personable, he sounds sincere even when not answering your questions”.
SPEAKING of boisterous political performers, new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson claims a camping connection with the capital. The blond-haired Brexiteer told “The Canberra Times” in 2015 that while backpacking in the 1980s he got lost in the dark, “managed to pitch a tent in the middle of the road”, waking to discover he’d spent the night on one of our traffic roundabouts. While a shroud of scepticism hovers over the story it’s nonetheless a cracker.
IT’S been a busy week for the member for Monaro John Barilaro. In his own backyard, Barilaro was brave and bold, delivering a broadside at local ABC radio. According to Bega’s “District News”, the NSW Nationals’ leader accused ABC South East of “continuing to perpetrate the lies” and “cherry picking” his comments. On the station’s breakfast program the NSW Deputy Premier angrily promoted a hashtag “turn off ABC South East.”
HOWEVER, deputising for Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Barilaro was more civilised when copping a minor caning from headmaster Hadley on 2GB. The impressive dash demonstrated earlier all but disappeared as Barilaro meekly accepted the shock jock’s dictation on juvenile justice, to be delivered back to Gladys.
SHAME longtime Liberal MLA Vicki Dunne won’t experience the spoils of government she anticipates her party will enjoy after next year’s October poll. A canny exponent of using media to give opponents a “tickle”, Dunne filled many roles, including Speaker, over her almost two decades in the Assembly, but has decided “the time was right”.
TWO Canberra-based Labor lads came to the rescue of a damsel in distress. New MP for the Queensland seat of Lilley Anika Wells dominated social media with details of writing her maiden speech while caring for two-year-old daughter Celeste. Wells tweeted: “When a toddler travels, a small flotilla of toddler-based safety flotsam & comfort jetsam is required. Celeste’s sitting week essentials have been hand delivered by lovely local dads & my new parliamentary colleagues @DaveSmithMP and @AleighMP”.
STILL on Labor types hand-delivering things, Ginninderra MLA Tara Cheyne has promised to do just that for those who purchase her new “I heart Belco” T-shirts. The shirt features that infamous icon of the region the owl, which stands proudly on Benjamin Way.
WALKING through Belconnen Westfield I was approached by a young man asking if I had $2 “for a bus fare”. I didn’t have $2 but happily gave him a $5 note. I watched him walk away to a group of six of his contemporaries nearby where he was met with high fives all-round. Another of his cohort, also apparently short of the readies for a bus fare, put the bite on another passer-by. Then something very odd happened. The group headed in the opposite direction from the bus interchange, to the cinema.