By Mike Welsh

Mere colour, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways. ” 
― Oscar Wilde

When I was growing up in Tassie the form-guide to politics was much less complicated by colour.If you like it was straight forward black and white. We had a Green named Brown (Bob) who was called Yellow (for his anti-Vietnam war stance) and a Red (commie) and who ended up in the Risdon Prison (known as the Pink Palace) for his principles. Simple. And later we had a Premier named Gray (Robin) but that’s a horse of a completely different colour.


In one recent blatant colour changing spray 2GB’s Alan Jones turned his loyalty formula of picking and sticking- to those of a conservative bent- completely on it’s head. Following a lengthy and shameless session slobbering at the boots of former Labor leader Mark Latham, the master broadcaster then drove his size 12 steel caps into Liberal Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull. It’s becoming very confusing especially for his adoring Grey Nomad fans who remain glued to his every word as they drive into their wide blue yonder.

Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this? no. Just as one can never learn how to paint.” ― Pablo Picasso




SINGING superstar Olivia Newton-John and more than a 100 Falun Gong practitioners separately visited Canberra.

Newton-John was in town to lobby the Turnbull government for more funding for cancer research while the yellow-jacketed adherents to Falun Dafa wanted to highlight the widespread practice of human organ harvesting in China.

The “Grease” star was warmly welcomed into the Turnbull inner sanctum and felt the love of starstruck Senators Hinch and Hanson. But after two days of getting physical on the lawns of Parliament House, the Falun Gong had to settle for a quick word from a little-known Greens senator. I guess it’s a case of horses for causes.

STILL on Senator Hanson and it’s safe to speculate that her Senate-stopping burqa stunt may have forced an upgrade of her personal security back to that of 1997.

In her 2007 autobiography “Untamed and Unashamed” the One Nation leader recalls “the intrusion” of being shadowed by two or three AFP officers from the moment she stepped from a flight at Canberra airport. Senator Hanson wrote: “I was told by the AFP that the threat against me was higher than against any other politician, including the then PM John Howard”.

WHETHER ACT Liberal Senator Zed Seseljavolunteered or drew the short straw to appear on “Q&A” is unknown. The Assistant Minister for Social Services and Multicultural Affairs would have known he was the Christian being fed to the lions on the Monday night panel show. The conservative senator was strategically positioned between philosopher AC Grayling and Israeli politician Merav Michaeli – both of whom believe traditional marriage is sexist and should not exist in its current form. The father of five acquitted himself well despite being booed by audience members for his intention to vote no in the SSM postal survey.

MEANTIME, some same-sex couples in Canberra claim to be just plain weary from the debate. One woman who has been in a same-sex relationship for 30 years says she is simply “exhausted” and “exasperated”. Worn down by the relentless pressure of being the focus of attention, she says: “The issue is sucking the oxygen out of the room as it’s the only thing people are talking about”. And she is exasperated by the negative comments of the National Party leadership and the non-binding element of the survey outcome.

CANBERRA’S Crows’ supporters are in a state of excitement. A healthy and well established Adelaide Crows AFL supporters group – consisting of between 50 and 70 mostly ex-pats – has been gathering at each other’s homes to watch the Crows’ games. The group even has its own Facebook page, CrowACTive. The pride of SA in Friday’s preliminary final and warm favourites to win their first flag since 1999 – the year the Canberra support group formed.

ICONIC Civic cafe Gus’ has sprung back into life and, if the long queues on opening day were any indication, Canberrans certainly missed the Bunda Street establishment. Famous for being at the vanguard of al fresco dining in the 1960s, the revamped Gus’s Place has given Garema Place the nostalgic touch it is sadly losing.

WHILE the coffee house’s refurbishment was popular, construction at another iconic Canberra location has been broadly criticised. Within hours of the first metal panel of a new security fence on the lawns of Parliament House being set in concrete, criticism began to flow on social media with veteran press gallery writer Michelle Grattan tweeting “it’s appalling”. The 2.6-metre grilled fence is the centrepiece of an estimated $126 million security upgrade for Parliament House.

TWO large, handwritten banners on a house on Belconnen Way at Page are confusing some passersby. Seemingly set for demolition or a major renovation, the property bears two signs which boldly claim: “NOT A FLUFFY”. Is the owner/builder making a political statement on the controversial ’80s insulation or simply maintaining the real estate value of the surrounding area already dotted with Fluffy houses?


Dear Baby Boomers, I’m a millennial. And, I’m damn proud of it. And, as an esteemed millennial, I get sick and tired of enduring the criticisms associated with every baby born after 1981. We get a malicious rap for being entrepreneurial visionaries who believe the world should cater to our every beck and call. We […]

via Dear Baby Boomers — Esmesha Campbell // Musings of Lifestyle, Culture and Fashion


By Mike Welsh

With the SSM debate getting hotter and nastier and, if possible, more blatantly disproportionate, it’s fair to speculate many are clamming up when talk turns to the postal poll. From those that I’ve asked, some are voting “Yes” over “No” for the sake of peace.

A “Yes” vote of course will almost always guarantee acceptance or a tick of approval, but to suggest you may be thinking in the negative will almost always result in vilification. Such is the nature of this argument. This is no longer a debate.


As the SSM postal survey voting papers arrive in mailboxes across Australia, and pictures of “Yes” boxes ticked swamp social media, Tasmanian-born comedian Hannah Gadsby has injected some rare balance and consideration into the divisive debate.

Speaking with 7.30‘s Leigh Sales to promote her new and final (Gadsby is retiring from stand-up) show, the openly gay performer said the same sex marriage debate had made her “tired”, adding “this shouldn’t be happening. To make us subject to a majority vote means we have to prove ourselves worthy and that’s exhausting.”


The 39-year-old, who has just won the prestigious Edinburgh Comedy Award, says “it’s also unfair for those who oppose gay marriage because the ‘No’ vote comes with a lot of stigma and these people are being dragged out because they know they want to say publicity why they want to vote ‘No’, and their ideas are steeped in ignorance. But what I don’t doubt is what informs their need to say so ‘No’ or speak out and that’s just general concern, and who am I to doubt why people are concerned about what’s happening? Parents are concerned about the way children are taught about gender and sexuality. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. I think it’s good to be concerned.”

Gadsby said “what’s not right is that it’s placed on me”.

Gadsby likens the vile tone of current debate to her home state of Tasmanian and how she dealt with horrific victimisation at a time when the Apple Isle was radically changing draconian laws on homosexuality. She says we haven’t learnt anything from that time.

Up until now it has appeared that only those with a profile (Wallaby, Israel Folau, being the latest) who dared venture into the “No” zone were viciously targeted.

But following yesterday’s “It’s Ok to say No” rally, organised by Catholic students at Sydney Uni, which turned violent when a much larger “Yes” mob turned up, the issue has escalated into a frightening and wide-spread “game on”. The SMH reports a spokesperson for the Sydney University Catholic Society said “vote ‘No’ campaigners were physically assaulted,verbally abused and repeatedly shouted down.”

The spokesperson said “We were told we cannot be on campus with such beliefs”.

So much for that “respectful debate”, and more importantly, free speech.



AFTER almost a year walking from Perth to Canberra to deliver a message of justice for his people to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Aboriginal activist Clinton Pryor turned his back on the PM.


The “Spiritual Walker” met with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten in front of Parliament House but later became frustrated by the Prime Minister’s “disrespectful” attitude. Pryor said “we were disappointed we had to walk around the back to meet him, he should have came out and seen [sic] me after I walked so far to see him”. The 27-year-old activist also spent time posing with large groups of school children visiting Parliament House.


MEANTIME Geelong man John Olsen was on hand to greet Pryor, honouring a promise he made when the pair’s paths crossed in the WA outback last year. The 65-year-old Olsen, nearing the end of his walk from Cape York in Queensland to Cape Leeuwin in WA to raise awareness and funds for the rare genetic disease Leukodystrophy, had vowed to be at the Tent Embassy when Pryor arrived.

AND still they come. Melbourne Salvation Army’s Maj. Brendan Nottlehas begun a 700 km Walk-the-Walk journey to Canberra to raise awareness and funds for the homeless and, like Clinton Pryor, has a strong message for the PM. The major plans to take 40 days to reach the capital to highlight the desperate plight of the homeless whom he says “are the forgotten people of our community. They’re the voiceless”. He said Canberra needed “a kick up the backside” over its inaction on homelessness.

REVELATIONS of more than 700 pieces of contraband, including knives, mobile phones and drugs, confiscated from within the Alexander Maconochie Centre in one year, has left former superintendent Doug Buchanan incredulous, describing the haul as “outrageous”. The now retired Buchanan who was seconded to the AMC from NSW in 2010 says: “This is a policy failure, the direct result of policy being written based on what staff can’t do rather than what they can do to stop contraband being introduced into the centre”.

Initially boasting a “groundbreaking” design, an observance of human rights and a primary focus on rehabilitation, controversy has dogged the AMC from day one.

CANBERRA Libs were scarce at the recent Equal Love rally in Civic. But the Opposition spokesperson for gaming and racing Mark Parton appears to have broken ranks while also having an each-way bet on the divisive issue. Parto enthusiastically applauded rally speakers including CM Andrew Barr after bagging him on Facebook. Parton posted: “It doesn’t matter how you spin it, this is ratepayers’ money being spent to support one side of a national plebiscite. It should not be happening. If Barr wants to support the yes campaign, he should do it with his own money.”

A SOUTH Canberra mother posted a blunt message on Facebook to whoever placed a razor blade on a slide at a local playground. Donna Chandler-Brownsaid: “Didn’t think I would ever have to post something like this, here goes. To the f***ing grubs that put a pulled-apart razor blade on the slide at Lanyon Park cutting my six-year-old daughter’s finger open. Hope you have fulfilled your sick, twisted fantasies of cutting young children”. Chandler-Brown says among the hundreds of responses was another mother sharing a similar story.

WHILE not a “true” Canberran, international cricket’s new superstar Nathan Lyon’s roots run deep in the capital. After ripping through the Bangladeshi batting line up (taking 22 wickets in the two test series) the man they call “Gaz” (after AFL player Gary Lyon) is being compared with Shane Warne. Born in Young, Lyon came to Canberra as a youngster learning his craft playing for Western Districts and UC cricket clubs before debuting for the Comets in 2008. Lyon moved to SA in 2010 and was awarded a baggy green in 2011.

RIP Connie Johnson. You made a difference.


By Mike Welsh

Neville Nobody knows nothing and nobody and anybody who knows Neville knows he never did no harm to nobody. (Like Neville those who know him didn’t receive a complete education).

Neville Nobody is so straight up and down and nigh on invisible that he’s not eligible for the colourful Aussie moniker “Nifty”. Fact is Neville doesn’t even qualify for the slightly less formal but grudgingly accepted- by most Nevilles- the abbreviation “Nev”. It’s Neville and that’s it. Nothing and no-one will ever change it or him.


But that is until now. While change doesn’t sit well with Neville Nobody, one thing has seriously niggled (Neville hasn’t been niggled, seriously or otherwise since February 14 1966 on the introduction of decimal currency) and that’s being told how to to vote. Neville Nobody does vote but nobody who knows Neville knows how he votes. They accept that nobody tells Neville Nobody how to vote. Nobody!!

Nobody knows this but many who know Neville are prepared to bet a “penny to a pound of goat dropping” that Neville’s problem is he has never fully recovered the trauma he suffered as a schoolboy boarding public transport on that D day in ’66 and being given “yank” money in change for the fare he paid in pennies.

Now Neville is not your type to boycott something just because its bent out of shape.  No, Neville is not by nature or any stretch of the imagination a protester and by boycotting the poll he’d also be stepping way out of his comfort zone. So without malice or judgement, Neville Nobody,as far as anyone knows, is voting no. Not because he has an issue with same sex relationships or has any conflicting cultural or religious beliefs but simply he firmly believes there are some things which matter. Although nobody who knows Neville knows if there are any other things which “matter” to Neville.



It’s simple, the most non-threatening- know- nothing -nong on the planet should not have to endure some loudmouth slapping him around the head with a rainbow placard and demanding he vote yes is beyond the pale for the this seriously washed out beige battler.

Telling Neville Nobody or anybody for that matter how to vote is simply un Australian. Beware the Neville Nobodys.