All pics by Mike Welsh
A CANBERRA man who has been suffering for more than 60 years on an almost daily basis from the effects of sexual abuse, says the National Apology speech “finally got it”.
Raped by a Catholic teaching brother in Tasmania at the age of eight, 71-year-old Chris was anxious and undecided about attending the historic event. He’s now glad he did.
Chris said the speeches by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and opposition leader Bill Shorten – which brought him to tears – “captured the mood”, and while the pain of abuse will never fade, attending the event enabled him to “climb another mountain”.
AFTER the official ceremony Morrison visited Parliament House lawns where he moved comfortably among hundreds of sexual-abuse survivors, their families and supporters, chatting, hugging and patiently listening to their painful stories.
As his minders became anxious, the PM had run way over time, ’70s pop heartthrob Daryl Braithwaite came to the rescue. The former Sherbet front man and his band rocked into the first bars of their set giving ScoMo the cue to move. With a quick nod to Braithwaite the PM and his posse were gone.
A TWEET from independent senator Derryn Hinch – also a child sex-abuse survivor – perfectly captured the mood on the lawns of Parliament House. Hinch tweeted on @HumanHeadline: “Today was one of the most humbling days of my life. Walking around Parliament House lawns after the National Apology from Morrison and Shorten was amazing. The pain in grown-men’s eyes said it all.”
A LITTLE over 24 hours later the PM’s behind-the-scenes-crew went above and beyond to prepare a Mitchell small business for a visit. At 9.30pm Tuesday Pure Gelato owner Zoltan Tolgyesi agreed to host Morrison and a media pack of 30 early the following morning, but was concerned his shop wasn’t prime ministerial ready.
“No problem,” said the advance crew, “meet you there in 20 minutes”. Sleeves were rolled up, rubber gloves employed and by 11pm the showroom was ready for the PM’s “energy requirements” visit. Zoltan is still shaking his head at their professionalism. And ScoMo’s fave gelato? Boysenberry Cheesecake.
IN a week of apologies, another politician issued one of his own. Frustrated Liberal MLA Mark Partonposted a two-minute video aimed at “individuals languishing at the end of a long public housing waiting list, struggling to afford private rental.”
Parton claims his Land Tax Amendment Bill would have “eased the rental affordable crisis in the ACT” but without support from Labor and the Greens it failed. A defeated Parton offered the heartfelt mea culpa “I’m sorry, we tried”.
SEEMS like the cynics may have had a win on the Light Rail project.
Many scoffed at the “coming in 2018” slogan plastered on promotional material draped along the route. It has been confirmed the project is lagging several months behind schedule.
In July I reported that while the project may well be completed in December, first passengers would not be carried until the first quarter of 2019.
COULD the still-knotted, navy blue, handmade, silk, designer-label necktie I picked up from the gutter on Commonwealth Avenue be indicative of Canberrans adopting the national trend of a more casual dress code for the office? According to corporate fashion consultants “casual is in and stuffiness is out”. The trendsetters say men are “ditching ties and women are showing shoulders.”
THE penny has finally dropped at Canberra radio station Mix 106.3.After countless efforts to import talent to snag a greater slice of the local audience local lad Nigel Johnson is returning to breakfast radio. Installing one half of the hugely successful FM 104.7 duo of Scotty and Nige has always been a “no brainer’. A truism in radio is that localism wins. Blow-ins constantly mentioning “Tuggers” or “Charnie” or Mooseheads will fail dismally against the genuine local “cred” of Johnson and those of his radio ilk.
ACT Greens leader Shane Rattenbury’s brash invitation to a controversial dance music festival to pitch its tent in the capital, without consulting his colleagues, has been swiftly scuttled.
The Greens’ spokesperson on drugs policy argued a ban by the NSW government of the hardcore Defqon.1 festival – where two people died of overdoses in September – is an “economic opportunity” that could bring “life to the city”. Chief Minister Andrew Barr says while his government supports pill testing it would not use the sentiment to “attract events to Canberra”.
MEANWHILE, a pill-testing rally in Garema Place, organised by the newly formed Smashed Avocado Movement and the Reason Party (formerly the Sex Party), failed to attract the anticipated thousands of supporters. The SAM has among its myriad of philosophical objectives, “to reduce apathy and promote engagement within communities around progressive values, issues and solutions”. A gathering of about 60 heard of the grief families suffered after losing a member to a drug overdose.
UNAWARE of the pill-testing demo another group of activists, keen to shock the public out of its apathy, set up nearby. The Anti-Speciesist Action Collective staged what it called a “surreal and powerful” demonstration featuring five near-naked young women splattered with “blood” lying in human meat trays. Participants urged passersby to “recognise the animals on their plates as living, breathing individuals”.
AS the war of words raged around the issue of advertising on the Opera House sails, the Aussie sense of humour quickly kicked in online with waves of memes ridiculing the issue. Suggestions included a raft of large, white, iconic spaces that could also be utilised as advertising mediums, but Kate Auty’s tweet cleverly ticked all of the culturally inappropriate boxes…“How about #SummerNats advertised on the #WarMemorial?”
STILL at the AWM, and to commemorate the centenary of the 1918 Armistice a lush field of poppies has sprung up on the Western grounds, drawing large numbers of visitors. The brilliant display featuring 62,000 handmade red poppies representing Australian lives lost in World War I, is the work of award-winning landscape designer Phillip Johnson.
THE normally uneventful precinct at the city end of Constitution Avenue was rudely interrupted just before lunch by a squadron of AFP officers invading number 2, the Canberra home of the Australian Border Force. The raid was linked to leaked information that sparked the au pair saga and exposed dealings between Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and AFL supremo Gil McLachlan. An investigation is reportedly ongoing, however any official direction on the correct or acceptable pronunciation of a French babysitter is unlikely. Either “O” or “OR” is okay.
LOCALLY based construction giant Geocon is not only playing in the major league but also bringing class and attitude to some “beige” Canberra precincts. The property developer, established by Canberra born and raised Nick Georgalis in 2007 with just six workers, is now number four nationally despite the company’s projects being based in the local region. The developer also deserves recognition for the creative branding of its, by Canberra standards, skyscrapers. Rising from the rubble of the unsophisticated ABC (Allawah, Bega, Currong) flats in Civic is the aspirational Metropol and the naughty and after-darkish Tryst. Out in the Belco precinct, the Republic, High Society and Dusk make up the fashionable skyline. The Woden precinct is in for sleepless Big-Apple nights when the Grand Central is completed and out at the Gungahlin precinct, limitless possibilities are on offer with Infinity.
FINALLY an acceptable piece of public art. Possibly to reflect the city’s seemingly permanent “under-construction” status and associated kilometres of temporary safety bordering and fencing, a “pop-up” stack of colourful WFBs (water filled barriers) has been unveiled on the banks of Lake Burley Griffin near the High Court. The plastic faux granite work may be among the first piece of recent public art not bagged by local punters.
CHAMPION netballer Liz Ellis has gone into bat for Canberra sports reporter Erin Molan after the axing of the NRL “Footy Show”.
Molan, who took over hosting the dated Channel Nine winter staple, has been the target of a social media assault with many accusing her of “killing” the 25-year-old show.
But Ellis says Molan “took on hosting an iconic TV show and gave it her best shot. She, along with the team who made the show, couldn’t turn it around.”
Nine’s sport boss Tom Malone said of Molan: “She’s a great broadcaster” and will play “a prominent role on Nine’s sports broadcasts going forward”.
NOT all shock jocks are the same, a fact now clear to Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.
Ms Hanson-Young’s confusion over the major players in the infamous 2011 “ditch-the-witch” rallies on the lawns of Parliament House has forced her to apologise and earned a lecture on the benefits of research.
Promoting her new book “En Garde” on Melbourne talkback radio, Ms Hanson-Young confused Ray Hadley with his stablemate Alan Jones, alleging poor treatment of then PM Julia Gillard.
In accepting Hanson-Young’s apology Hadley suggested the senator do her homework in the future.
CANBERRA overachiever Bec Goddard has joined the Canberra Capitals coaching panel for the new season. The inaugural AFLW premiership coach says she hopes the new role and new code will enhance her overall coaching skills. Goddard’s appointment is part of a wider campaign to end the Capital’s WNBL championship drought, stretching back to 2010.
STILL on the Capitals and four-time Olympian Lauren Jackson’s autobiography “My Story, A Life in Basketball and Beyond” is bound to sell well in the capital. Born and raised in Albury, Canberra provided the springboard for Jackson’s brilliant career. Arriving in 1997 as a 16-year-old to take up an AIS scholarship, Jackson went on to help the Canberra Capitals to four WNBL championships. On Jackson’s retirement in 2014 Caps coach Carrie Graf said: “Lauren has simply been iconic to women’s basketball. She leaves a great legacy of winning,”
A 10-DAY trek from Sydney to Canberra by United Indian Association members raising funds for drought-affected NSW farmers, ended on the beginning of celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birthday (October 2). The Indian-Australian “Walk for Farmers” walkers finished their journey at Gandhi’s statue in Glebe Park. A UIA spokesperson says the walk was “to say thank you to the farmers who toil hard to bring food to our table.”
FORMER ACT chief police officer Roman Quaedvlieg, recently involved in a politically bruising stoush with Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, appears to take inspiration from the man who advocated non-violent activism. Quaedvlieg, controversially sacked as commissioner of the Australian Border Force, chose Gandhi’s birthday to tweet: “Is it just me, or is the right moving further to the right and the left moving further to the left? I’m no Gandhi but wouldn’t we all be better off moving closer to the middle?”
CANBERRA real estate is front and centre after the listing of former PM Malcolm Turnbull’s part-time pad on Kingston Foreshore. The two-level three bedroom penthouse, purchased in 2006 for $1.8 million is expected to fetch around the $2.5 million mark at auction.
AN exhibition of drawings of bus shelters built for our public transport system in the 1970s has opened at the Canberra Museum and Gallery. The sketches by artist Trevor Dickinson depict 52 of the iconic concrete shelters first installed in 1975.
He’s tracked down most of the almost 500 structures. Many are still in active service, but this spare pair has been retired and now acts as a smoko hut for workers at a Fyshwick worksite.