Start stockpiling, they’re coming for the ear buds

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It won’t be the doctor warning not to use those cotton buds (they compact ear wax, if you’d wondered), the Plastics Police, Single-Use Branch, is coming for them, says “Seven Days” columnist IAN MEIKLE

Ian Meikle.

CITY Services Minister Chris Steel will have the nightstick out from July 1 when the covid-crushed hospitality industry will be in the regulatory crosshairs with bans on single-use plastic takeaway food and beverage containers.

Under the legislation, it’ll be an offence to supply a prohibited plastic product, which will include plastic cutlery and drink stirrers.

Heartwarmingly, the minister says it will not be an offence to supply a prohibited plastic product in a non-business setting, for example, from a parent to a child at a picnic. Ahhh.

But there will be more bans and in 2022 it’s goodbye to straws, plastic bags for fruit and ­­vegetables, as well as all products made from oxo-degradable plastic (me neither). 

Plastic-lined, single-use coffee cups and lids, single-use plastic dinnerware, boutique or heavyweight plastic bags and those darn cotton ear buds with plastic sticks look like being banned from 2023.

Apparently, the emboldened minister says the impending Assembly Bill sends a “strong signal” to the community that we need to move away from single-use plastic and to build a circular economy. And who doesn’t crave a circular economy? 

CANBERRA is celebrated nationwide as the current-affairs capital, so this little quiz will be a doddle: 

Q1: Who is the Treasurer of Australia?

Q2: Who is the Australian Minister for Communications?

Q3: Who is Australia’s Defence Minister?

Q4: Who are the Australian Environment Ministers?

Q5: Who is the Australian Minister for Jobs?

Too easy? Well, I’m betting you didn’t get any right, according to my impeccable source, the Australian government official website australia.gov.au. Check your answers at the column’s end. 

NOTHING says normality like the news of Vincent van Gogh being back in residence at the National Gallery. 

But Vince’s 1888 “Sunflowers” won’t be blooming before autumn with “Botticelli to Van Gogh: Masterpieces from the National Gallery, London” not opening until March. 

Tickets are already on sale for the Canberra-only season featuring paintings by some of Europe’s most admired artists, including Titian, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Renoir, Cézanne, Turner and Gauguin.

It’s the first major international exhibition in Australia since COVID-19 closed international borders in March and NGA director Nick Mitzevich is terribly excited: “At a time when Australian audiences are unable to travel overseas, we are thrilled to be able to welcome visitors to Canberra to see this exclusive showcase of world-class art”.

The face of grace… Arts Minister Tara Cheyne, left, presents Lainie Hart with the Helen Tsongas Award. Photo: Peter Hislop.

POLITICIANS always like to stand out and Tara Cheyne did just that in her debut as the new ACT Arts Minister at the Canberra Critics Circle’s gala (socially distanced) annual awards night at the Canberra Museum and Gallery. 

She was invited to present the Helen Tsongas Award for excellence in acting to neuropsychologist (another story) Lainie Hart. Which she did, as Peter Robinson introduced her and Circle convener Helen Musa explained the tragic background to the annual award. 

Tara was grace itself, smiled and cheerfully presented the prize without saying a single word. Not a syllable. A stand out performance compared with the rest of us (me included) who variously thanked mums, lovers, friends, colleagues and pivoting for the interminable, but incredibly well-deserved Critics Circle awards. 

And the answers to those pesky questions: 

  1. Scott Morrison
  2. Mitch Fifield
  3. Christopher Pyne
  4. Melissa Price
  5. Kelly O’Dwyer

Couldn’t be, you say. Log on to info.australia.gov.au/news-and-social-media/media-releases/media-releases-and-rss-feeds-by-portfolio… good to see official media teams are keeping up!

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

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

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