by Mike Welsh

A CONTROVERSIAL feminist and writer whose bio boasts an ability to use humour and distilled fury to lay bare issues affecting women returned to the capital last week.

A GAMBLING addiction expert claims Canberra’s licensed clubs are “bending rules” and “sanitising” reports on the flow of poker machine profits.

Mike Welsh

Dr Charles Livingstone says the ACT formula, which requires clubs to give eight per cent of profits from pokies to community groups assisting those impacted by gambling addiction, is “deeply flawed, opaque and misleading”. The researcher says in many cases clubs “were giving the money to themselves”.

ClubsACT chief executive Gwyn Reesrejected the findings, suggesting researchers were “playing with the figures to get the answer they want”.

MEANTIME, some sobering statistics have been shared on the impact problem gambling has on the ACT community.

Local gambling counsellors estimate there are 14,000 problem gamblers in Canberra, with at least one thousand seriously addicted.

The experts say gambling harm expands exponentially when the equation of one problem gambler impacting six to 10 others is applied.

THE ACT opposition has accused the Barr government of “failing” inmates at the Alexander Maconochie Centre after the second death in custody within 12 months. But, according to a former superintendent, there was a time when the Hume complex was functional. Doug Buchanan, a highly experienced correctional manager, was seconded from NSW in 2010 with a single brief to “regain control of the prison” after officers “were being assaulted almost on a daily basis” and staff sick leave had “skyrocketed”.

The now-retired Buchanan says once he gained control his secondment was terminated (May, 2011) and is sure “today’s managers still have their hands tied behind their backs by a human rights agenda”.

CM Andrew Barr is unfussed about from whom he borrows a political stunt. Taking a leaf from PM Malcolm Turnbull’s stunts-on-public-transport playbook, Barr boarded the Xplorer from Canberra to Sydney to promote the need for faster rail services between the cities. The CM also fantasised of a time when Turnbull would be able to take a train from Kirribilli to The Lodge. By the time train travel journeys between the cities are shortened, Turnbull will likely be long gone from The Lodge.

FORMER Canberra man Baxter Reid’s 15 minutes of fame seems to have evaporated. Detained in the US for overstaying his visa by 90 minutes, the 28-year-old is expected back in Australia this week, but it’s unclear if he’ll make an appearance in his old stomping ground.

Social media, which was ablaze with pleas for financial help for Reid who innocently became entangled in red tape, has now gone quiet.

CONFUSION surrounds the variety of educational options available in the ACT. As families grapple with Gonski and do the NAPLAN numbers, stats reveal the capital as having the highest participation rate of homeschooling in the nation (up 122 per cent), begging the question why?

Added to that trend, figures from the 2016 ABS census show that after years of private secondary schools having the majority share, Canberra’s public schools are clawing back enrolments from the non-government sector at a rate of almost three times the national average.

A CONTROVERSIAL feminist and writer whose bio boasts an ability to use humour and distilled fury to lay bare issues affecting women returned to the capital last week. Clementine Ford, “The Panel” and “Q&A” regular, was guest speaker at a Women Lawyers Association dinner during ACT Law Week. According to those who attended the sell-out function, Ford did not disappoint.

A CANBERRA couple chose a radical approach to repairing their rocky relationship – reality TV. Sarah and Keelan (surnames are not used) featured in Nine’s The Last Resort”, which promises couples that a month on an isolated resort will “reignite their love”. But Keelan’s drinking apparently got the better of him and the troubled couple are back in the bosom of Tuggeranong. Nine says the raw reality show promoted as “the ultimate in car-crash television” will remain in its prime-time slot despite low ratings.

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