Seven Days columnist MIKE WELSH reflects on a week in the life in Canberra.
THE gravitas of the office of Governor-General remains safe after the smooth transition from Sir Peter Cosgrove to David Hurley. But there was a time when the sobriety and decorum of the role was seriously disrespected.
It was the day in 2003 when 23rd GG Peter Hollingworth resigned. A drunken, loudmouthed former diplomat turned up at the gatehouse to Yarralumla’s most prestigious address, demanding to be admitted.
Shouting: “Let me in, let me in”, the dishevelled, slobbering interloper with suitcase on wheels and large media pack in tow, was none other than cultural attache to the Court of St James, Sir Les Patterson, who felt his turn in the vice-regal gig had come. The brilliant publicity stunt was arranged by promoter to the stars Coralie Wood to drum up ticket sales for the Canberra leg of yet another Barry Humphries touring show.
LISTENER reaction to 2CC’s shock decision to outsource its breakfast show won’t be known until October when results from GfK’s Canberra radio survey are released. The struggling station will simulcast Alan Jones’ 2GB breakfast show from Sydney. Dislodged breakfast host Tim Shaw moves to drive (3pm-6pm).
The move is smart business. Jones is a brilliant broadcaster and, in my humble opinion, second only to John Laws, with daylight third. Given Shaw’s soft ratings, Jones (who will be much cheaper) will rate highly and provide his GB stablemate Ray Hadley with the greater Canberra lead-in audience he’s been demanding for years.
FORMER shock-jock and now former Justice Party senator Derryn Hinch has left his mark on the capital. The “Human Headline”, who has returned to TV and SkyNews, has had the pathway to his favourite Canberra bar named in his honour and made safer.
Before leaving Canberra, he cut the ribbon to “Hinch Way”, a new, improved path to Ostani Bar and Restaurant at Barton’s Hotel Realm where he had a fall in the dark last year.
TRANSPORT Canberra is dexterous in disciplining staff if nothing else. The body managed to slap the wrist of an employee’s heavy handed approach to a suspected light-rail fare evader. TC has apologised to the teenager who was booted off the tram after failing to produce a student ID. Executive group manager for Transport Canberra Judith Sturman mitigated the incident, explaining staff are on a “learning curve”.
CANBERRA renters may have stumbled upon an inexpensive method of keeping warmer this winter. Local renters are bubble wrapping their windows to retain heat. Advocacy group Better Renting, which offers the home visit scheme “Home Truths”, says the DIY insulation can cut heating bills by up to 50 per cent.
AND spare a thought for those forced to sleep rough during a harsh Canberra winter. A campsite has materialised just metres from one of our major traffic thoroughfares. It’s possibly the same camp that until recently was briefly located in Glebe Park across from building giant Geocon’s city office. But any awkward juxtaposition was eliminated when the camp moved to West Basin before relocating to its present Civic site.
THE ANU AFL club won’t forget a recent road trip to Batemans Bay quickly. Three players ended up at the local ED, with two requiring some serious needle work after a clashing of heads in the final seconds of a game against the Batemans Bay SeaHawks. A hospital official said it had been a quiet afternoon until the wounded Griffos landed.
A SCULPTURE of late former prime minister Bob Hawke has popped up at Gold Creek. The tribute, by local artist Paul Woods now stands alongside John Howard’s.
AND on ex-PMs, Sky News producer David Sharaz tells of bumping into “a lovely lady who seemed lost in Parliament. So I offer her direction. As we’re walking and talking her husband approaches”. It was only then Sharaz realised he was assisting Janette Howard.