Welsh / Apocalypse now… putting a spin on the dust storm

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Canberra’s dust storm from behind Old Parliament House, facing Lake Burley Griffin. Photo: Mike Welsh

LAST week’s dust storm of biblical proportions blanketing Canberra, bringing down power lines and shrouding our iconic sites, inspired many to become apocalyptic and opportunistically link it to climate change.

Journalist Quentin Dempster tweeted: “Apocalypse now… Canberra’s communications tower invisible in dust storm. MPs share the community’s grief at recent unprecedented floods/fires. But there is no plan to confront greater frequency of those extreme weather events.”

Mike Welsh
Mike Welsh.

CANBERRANS may vaguely remember the hellfire-and-brimstone preacherPastor Danny Nalliah from Catch the Fire Ministry. But those with sharper recollections have resurrected the reverend in the wake of blood being wiped on Pauline Hanson’s office door and its vague biblical implications. “The Australian’s” Strewth column recalls October 2009 when Pastor Danny discovered a “black mass altar” on Mt Ainslie blaming the devil for casting a black spell on the Federal parliament below.

VALENTINE’S Day may have left ACT Liberal senator Zed Seselja feeling unloved. A double page print advertisement – authorised by Unions ACT – boldly informed the senator: “You’re dumped, Zed”. The ad, urging voters to “Let Zed know it’s over”, features solemn black and white head shots of Seselja, Tony Abbott and Peter Dutton and suggests the former ACT Liberals’ leader “was too close to Peter and Tony” and didn’t “stand for important issues like climate change or marriage equality”.

The campaign comes amid rumblings from local Libs that Zed has lost traditional support and will struggle to gain financial and on-the-ground assistance during the campaign. It’s also understood polling for Assistant Minister for Treasury and Finance is concerning. There is talk that a “progressive liberal-leaning candidate” will be announced soon to run against him.

Author Ginger Gorman… taking on the trolls. Photo: Mike Welsh

CANBERRA author Ginger Gorman was forced to seek psychological help after completing a book about the dark and damaging practice of internet trolling. In “Troll Hunting” she takes on some of the nastiest trolls of the internet and reveals the frightening impact on society of the hateful and damaging comments swirling freely around cyberspace.

The former ABC journalist told a sold-out audience at the National Library the book came at a high emotional cost that had her often “crying, drinking and shouting at my children”. Gorman remains committed to forcing sites such as Facebook and Twitter to be more accountable for what is posted and for wider-ranging and stronger legislation covering what can be published.

I LIKE to think I live in a civilised city. A city through which our local political leaders are free to roam without harassment and the need for security. I recall Jon Stanhope sitting alone in the food hall at Belconnen Westfield on Saturday mornings ready for a chat. I’ve seen Katy Gallagher, when CM, taking her kids to the movies again without muscle. I recently followed (at a discreet and non-stalking distance) current CM Andrew Barr through Civic. Accompanied by just one flunky, Barr was totally unmolested by anyone and did not exchange greetings with or acknowledge anyone during the five or so minutes of my research. Is it possible Barr is unapproachable, unrecognised or are we just a more couth, respectful and reserved mob?

O Week jolly jape… student’s car wrapped in clear plastic.

O Week traditionally reboots Canberra back into full production and it wouldn’t be O Week without a few wacky, student pranks. While not a stunt of legendary proportions, a small car wrapped in plastic attracted plenty of double takes at UC. Third-year student Kirralee Delahunty from Wagga Wagga returned to her red Suzuki to see it tightly trussed in 600 metres of dollar-shop, clear plastic.

THE civilised city has lost two of its citizens. Deb and Milo, both retired public servants, were featured on the new ABC program “Escape from the City”. Dissatisfied with the local climate, the pair was intent on escaping as far from the capital as possible – the Margaret River region of WA. The program offers experts to smooth the path for people who’ve made the brave “life-changing decision to escape the city”.


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

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