If only Donald Trump was Chief Minister… perhaps not!

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Opposition Leader snubbed by Chief Minister, meet the Labor candidate who wants to be seen and a new, progressive political party pops up. It’s all boo-hoo and woo-hoo this week in “Seven Days” with IAN MEIKLE.

LIBERATE CAFES! If only tweet troll Donald Trump was Chief Minister, we’d have the corona-free ACT rocking again. 

Ian Meikle.

Mercifully he isn’t and Andrew Barr is prudently breathing incremental life back into the community, albeit too slowly for the relevance-deprived Opposition Leader Alistair Coe and some seriously hard-pressed small businesses. 

Opening playgrounds, dog parks, reserves and limited-patron cafes is an unsurprising start and consistent with the national cabinet’s stage 1 mud map.

But 10 diners at a time is a test for cafes and restaurants. 

“Perhaps some smaller venues will give it a go, feeling that a few bums on seats is better than no bums on seats,” writes long-time “CityNews” dining critic Wendy Johnson in a think piece on citynews.com.au 

“As for customers? Some will be thrilled and happy to support those who give opening a go. Others will be worried about #safety concerns. Some might be happy to continue having food delivered to their homes where they can spend winter nights eating in front of the telly in their pjs.” Gogglenosh, now you’re cooking, Wendy!

COE was also in front of the cameras goading the government into giving cafes and clubs a better go. Asked if the Canberra Liberals will be working with the ACT government on this? It’s not likely, says Al. 

“The interactions with the Chief Minister’s office and mine, unfortunately have not been forthcoming. The Chief Minister doesn’t want to engage with the opposition.” And so the election campaign starts… 

WITH the ACT election looming in October and the deadline for registering new parties by June 30, campaigning in the covid world couldn’t be tougher – no kissing babies, shaking hands or smirking selfies. 

Marisa Paterson… out there!

Take first-time Labor candidate for Murrumbidgee Dr Marisa Paterson, who writes in dignified frustration: “You couldn’t pick it; the first time I go to run there is a pandemic. 

“Campaigning has been significantly restricted and I’ve lost most of my campaign team from Canberra as they are students who have gone home to their families in the lockdown period in other states. 

“That said, I’m walking 10 kilometres a day letterboxing and calling local residents, really trying to get momentum on the campaign. I also work full time (as a social policy researcher at the ANU) and have three school-aged children who have been home over the past month/s.” 

THEN we have a new political entity, the ACT branch of the Australian Progressives, the Canberra Progressives with the well-worn goal “to keep the ACT government accountable”. The Canberra Liberals have been banging their heads against that objective for nearly two decades. 

Robert Knight… prince of the Progressives.

Progressives president, Woden Valley resident and father of two, Robert Knight has registered the party for October. 

“The Canberra Progressives will field candidates at the October election, with a view to winning seats and supporting a progressive agenda in the ACT which upholds our party values of ethics, evidence and empowerment.”

“Unlike the ACT Labor/Greens and Canberra Liberals, which appear to be run exclusively by a very select and privileged few, the Canberra Progressives will always ask party members and community members to help develop policies and positions on all key decisions.” Just like the Australian Democrats and history knows where that got them. 

LAURIE Blackall is the ACT’s chief curtain peeper having stepped up as the new Neighbourhood Watch president. 

Laurie Blackall… new president.

A Neighbourhood Watcher since 1989, Laurie came to the ACT with his parents in 1968 and has seen the neighbourhoods across Canberra grow. He now lives in Casey after growing up in Ainslie and Rivett. Grandfather of four, Laurie says he “looks forward to the challenges of building capability to remain relevant in an increasingly connected and informed community”.

He replaces two-term president Margaret Pearson, who is stepping down to concentrate on her role as company secretary of Neighbourhood Watch Australasia (Australia & NZ).

OUR columnists are always surprised (and delighted) to be recognised in the wider community. For example, “Canberra Matters” columnist Paul Costigan and his partner were shopping at Majura Park when a woman walking towards them edged up. 

“Mr Costigan?” she asked. 

“She then thanked me several times for the articles and said she wished ‘they’ were listening,” says Paul. 

“I then had to ask ‘do I know you?’ as her face was completely obscured by a mask, sunglasses and a cap.

“She said ‘no’, but that she needed to say something because of the articles in ‘CityNews’, which she picks up all the time.

“A few more words and we parted.

“Who was that masked woman?” he mused with apologies to “The Lone Ranger”.

“I will never know!”

OUR scruffy city… while there’s a money’s-no-object scramble to accelerate the pre-election or post-covid maintenance around the town, someone ought to take a look at the unsightly state of the previously brilliant display boards around Lake Burley Griffin. They haven’t been there that long, but have fallen foul of the elements. Was Canberra’s weather not considered when they were commissioned?


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Thank you,

Ian Meikle, editor

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

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