Tim, the T-shirt and a topless Brazilian

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A tall tale but true of Tim Fischer and a topless Brazilian leads MIKE WELSH’s Seven Days column this week. 

THE late Tim Fischer left a mark on all who encountered him during an impressive political career.

Tim Fischer… left a mark.

Deputising for a holidaying PM John Howard in the ’90s, Tim was in Port Macquarie. At local Flynns Beach, down to his budgie smugglers, ready for a dip, Tim noticed an attractive young Brazilian woman who happened to be topless. He quickly grabbed a T-shirt bearing the message “Vote 1 Rob Oakeshott” and gave it to her. 

As Fischer jogged to the surf the young tourist asked minders: “Who was that strange man?” She was flabbergasted when told: “That was our acting Prime Minister”. RIP Tim Fischer

STILL on the Nats and the NSW member for Monaro continues to grow in political confidence. Deputy Premier and state National Party Leader,  John Barilaro has strongly rebuked former Federal leader Barnaby Joyce over his activism in the divisive NSW abortion debate. Despite Federal leader Michael McCormack defending the member for New England’s right to campaign against the controversial Bill, Barilaro has objected to Joyce’s robocalling constituents in Queanbeyan, saying those who received a robocall were “upset and they think it’s not proper.”

PRIME Minister Scott Morrison’s sermon on the mount to Canberra-based public service heads may have only served to ignite a fresh round of Canberra bashing. Within hours of the Messiah from the Shire’s “blessed are the quiet Australians” lesson, Donald Trump’s “drain the swamp” dog whistle could be heard loud and clear on AM talkback radio.

MELBOURNE-based 2GB commentator Rita Panahi took Canberra bashing to a new low by boldly suggesting, without any qualification, that Canberrans “live in a fairly pampered existence ”. Her stupidity didn’t stop there. Ignoring co-host Steve Price (who is punching out some of the best talk radio I’ve heard in a decade in Canberra) she ignorantly pushed on claiming that in Canberra “every meal is paid for by the taxpayer”.

Even a call from proud local Gino, who found the bagging “absolutely disgusting”, inviting the pair to spend “more than one night here”, failed to bring Panahi down from her high horse. She ranted: “I don’t like the place at all, I could not wait to get out of the place anytime I’m there, it’s soulless”.

I had a golden rule during my long, poorly remunerated and spectacularly mediocre media career, that if you’re prepared to use the mic or pen to slag someone or something off, which I did often, be prepared to own it. If Ms Panahi has any credibility she would take up Gino’s offer.

A BUNCH of high school students was left angry after the automatic doors of an afternoon light rail tram to Gungahlin failed to open at Phillip Avenue, Watson. With no obvious means of alerting the driver they were taken an extra stop to Epic/Racecourse. Small problem, I know, but if some of the students had decided to walk back instead of boarding the next city-bound tram it would have become dangerous as the area is not yet pedestrian friendly.

FURTHER up the line any pedestrian consideration completely evaporates. Clearly there was never an option for Mitchell-bound travellers unless you are prepared to catch an Uber for the final leg of your trip. Alighting at Wells Station Drive stop and walking back to the heart of Mitchell, where there should have been a station from the start, you are forced to walk on the cycle lane, centimetres from traffic, due to a complete lack of any walking track.

ARTS editor Helen Musa went to the closing ceremony of the Ta Moko exhibition at the NGA on Friday where gallery director Nick Mitzevich managed to introduce the NZ High Commissioner, Dame Annette King, as “Dame Annita Keating”. But then a Kiwi attending told Helen that, at the Christchurch Memorial earlier this year, Dame Annette had introduced Andrew Barr as “Andrew Bolt”.

IT’S no secret Manuka is in dire need of a major makeover. And it isn’t just the once fashionable shopping strip or famous restaurants that are struggling. I spotted a paparazzi stalking a quarry dining al fresco in Franklin Street. When I took a closer look I couldn’t see anyone instantly recognisable or remotely famous. Nothing says low rent more than when local paps are forced to loiter in hopes of a fading or C-level star out in public.

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

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