CHIEF Minister Andrew Barr demonstrated dexterous political skills, moving quickly from treasury matters to terrorist threats. Within hours of delivering his sixth budget, Barr was forced to focus on the COAG meeting in Hobart with national security high on its agenda. Barr told media on Wednesday that an “elevated” threat to Canberra now existed due to the escalation in activity in recent days.

Mike Welsh

THE tone of Opposition Leader Alistair Coe’s Budget-in-reply speech suggests he is ready to swap playing “petty politics” with doing the hard yards required to win government. Coe has vowed to target the government’s achilles heel, corruption. The new leader claims “the government does have a problem, at best it’s an integrity issue, and at worst it’s corruption.”

Coe told the Assembly: “We all know that there are some people who have done very well out of this government, be it particular lobbyists, particular developers or particular consultants.”

The Liberal Leader announced a six-point plan for greater integrity in government land deals, which requires detailed reports of all land purchases and a clear path for whistleblowers.

MEANTIME Coe’s political mentor Zed Seselja might want to think about his timing. An email from the ACT Liberal Senator at 6.30 on ACT Budget night seeking my thoughts on the Federal Budget was just plain annoying. The gist of Zed’s email was “given the time of the year, I am particularly interested in hearing your views on the recent Federal Budget”. Sorry, Zed, one Budget at a time!

 A CANBERRA Op shop is seeking the appropriate solution to dealing with donated illicit narcotics paraphernalia. A pair of antique opium pipes – one in slightly better condition than the other – were among a bag of items dropped off at the shop. Staff are still deciding whether to put the pipes on sale or donate them to a museum.

TWO Canberra sports broadcasters have achieved a special milestone. Anchors of 2CC’s “Continuous Call” team, Chris O’Brien and Phil Small have notched up 500 NRL games. O’Brien says a highlight of the journey was attempting to call the Raiders/Tigers game at Bruce stadium in May, 2000 – the first NRL premiership game played in falling snow. O’Brien rates the ABC’s David Morrow as the second best league radio caller – behind Small – and the 2017 Raiders “a serious premiership contender”.

ANOTHER raw gambling addiction story has been publicly shared as the territory grapples with the tragic fallout from poker machine addiction. University of Canberra academic Prof Laurie Brown told of her addiction to the pokies which cost her more than $230,000 and a relationship. ACT Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay, who claimed to be “concerned and disappointed” by the response of some Canberra clubs to the issue, described Prof Brown’s frank admissions as “brave”. The professor’s story comes after Canberra mother of six Kate Seselja, founder of The Hope Project, appeared on the ABC TV show “You Can’t Ask That” and fielded questions on how she lost more than $500,000 during a 14-year addiction to poker machines.

THE red carpet was rolled out, the “A” list rolled up and a boy called George “delivered” from the decks. According to its Facebook page, the official launch of Canberra’s newest nightspot Kokomo’s in Civic was “an overwhelming and electrifying experience” and that guest DJ, ’80s gender bender Boy George,“kicked off the event with a set which produced banger after banger”. Kokomo’s is the latest venture from the award-winning venue operators, brothers Peter and Michael Harrington.

 STILL on benders but of a slightly different type, the Bananas in Pyjamas thrilled thousands at the Royal Australian Mint during 25th anniversary celebrations for the iconic pair.

The Mint produced a special collectable two-coin set to commemorate the milestone and invited fans to meet B1 and B2 in person. Mint CEO Ross MacDiarmid says: “For the past 25 years ‘Bananas in Pyjamas’ has been a staple in children’s viewing programs sharing important learnings about co-operation, friendship, creativity and enjoyment”.

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