Greens spin shadow boxing on the crossbench

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Love is in the air as Labor and the Greens cuddle up for another four years. It’s another “Seven Days” with IAN MEIKLE.

THE post-election Labor-Greens love-in was consummated with a parliamentary agreement that handcuffs the happy couple to the bedposts for another four years.

Ian Meikle.

No matter how you spin it, the Labor and Greens backbenchers are hobbled by the agreement from having a public view about anything much. 

But spin it they did with the three Greens who didn’t make the ministerial cut being given consolation shadow portfolios to create a sort of phoney crossbench, when they should be hunkering down with their Labor comrades. 

Apparently this is to give the government Greens MLAs and the “community a strong voice in the Legislative Assembly”. 

Andrew Braddock, Jo Clay and Johnathan Davis, each with at least six portfolios, “will play an active role as a conduit for their constituents, listening to their stories and concerns, and bringing those issues to the parliament”. Isn’t that what all members of all political stripes are there to do?

As political columnist Michael Moore points out in his column this week: “The agreement is that backbench Labor and Greens’ members restrict the amount of freedom they have to within the committee system to be responsive to community views and to maintain checks and balances on government and the administration.”

Don’t expect the green Greens “crossbench” to be opposing anything on the floor of the chamber.

THOSE who might make more of a noise got their team jumpers when former lawyer and Opposition Leader Elizabeth Lee allocated the Liberal shadow portfolios, swapping her former education spot with former leader Jeremy Hanson, for attorney-general. The other former leader Alistair Coe was appropriately kept in the forward line with the senior responsibility for watching the Treasurer.

MEANWHILE, Chief Minister Andrew Barr was handing out the real spoils of power – ministerial portfolios to his now nine-member, female-rich cabinet, that also includes three Greens. 

Greens leader Shane Rattenbury, the party’s sole frontbencher in the last administration, has been joined by colleagues Rebecca Vassarotti and Emma Davidson in cabinet.

He’s jumped into defeated Gordon Ramsay’s Attorney-General seat, finally ending his controversial term as Corrections Minister (welcome Mick Gentleman). 

Talented second-termer Tara Cheyne took the ladder up to Minister for Business and Better Regulation, while Labor colleague Suzanne Orr was down the snake and on to the backbench. 

I counted 38 ministries across the nine-member cabinet, which didn’t thrill commenter Palmerston’s Lament, who sniffed: “I think that list highlights just how many useless ministries there are in the territory and explains the default need to undertake busywork to demonstrate relevance. I’d be cutting back that list from ministries to departmental branches to be honest.” 

BUT they did cut back, as the Liberals’ Nicole Lawder spotted – the government has abandoned Gordon Ramsay’s seniors portfolio. 

She’s asking the new Labor/Greens government what this means for Canberra’s seniors?

“Continuously throughout this pandemic, seniors’ organisations and stakeholders have been pleading for better consultation and communication from the ACT government,” she complained.

“Shuffling the portfolio into another is not the answer and it’s simply not good enough.”

“WHO are you rushing to meet?” is the question police will be asking as the November traffic focus turns to what they call the “Fatal Five” – alcohol or drug-impaired driving, speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, intersections and driving while distracted. 

But what they really say is that by messing up you might be meeting members of another fatal five – police, fire brigade, ambulance officers, trauma surgeons or even a funeral director.

At the “Who are you rushing to meet?” campaign launch, traffic chief Insp Marcus Boorman said: “This year already, ACT Policing members have had to deliver tragic news to six families whose loved ones have died in road collisions.

“Driving at excessive speed is a death wish. When you speed, you show a complete disregard for not only your own life, but the lives of other road users.”

Melbourne Cup fashions-not-on-the-field local winner Cobie Sheehan.

WITH Melbourne Cup Day racing untroubled by crowds this year, the traditional fashions on the field looked a lost cause. No so. 

Fashionistas took to their fascinators and frocked-up at home to take part in Thoroughbred Park’s virtual fashions on the field.

Judged by Canberra identity Kristen Davidson and Melbourne Cup Carnival Oaks Day Fashions on the Field winner Brittney Tamou, the first snap-and-send virtual competition attracted entries from 73 ladies and gentlemen. 

Judge Davidson said: “I’ve been involved in Fashions on the Field for over five years and some of these outfits were the best yet!” 

Melbourne Cup fashions-not-on-the-field local winner Luke Signor.

Cobie Sheehan was crowned the Local Lady winner and scored more than $2000 in prizes. Top Local Lad was Luke Signor.

Ian Meikle is the editor of “CityNews” and can be heard weekly on the “CityNews Sunday Roast” on 2CC, 9am-midday. 


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Ian Meikle
Ian Meikle is the owner and editor of "CityNews".

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