THE “Canberra Bubble” may have the same questionable soundproofing qualities as Maxwell Smart’s “Cone of Silence”, and former PM Tony Abbott may need to get smart over his loose lips. 

“The Australian Financial Review” reports a diner seated near Abbott and journalist Simon Benson at the Kurrajong Hotel, “listening intently” and taking “comprehensive notes”. Journalists Myriam Robin and Joe Aston, write the member for Warringah freely shared opinions on several colleagues, including PM Scott Morrison, and enemies within his local branch.

MANUKA Oval – and Canberra – have passed the cricket Test test. Fans lavished praise upon the venue and its surrounds with “boutique” popping up across social media. @SamRoggeveen evoked an idyllic English village green, tweeting: “can’t be too many venues left where you can hear the batsmen calling and church bells on a Sunday afternoon”. Fans also appreciated the old-school, Jack Fingleton scoreboard and wanted to know why there was a Sir Donald Bradman stand but not a Sir Robert Menzies stand. Others queried the pronunciation of Manuka.

TIGHT security saw even former captain Greg Chappell bodily scanned by a metal detector outside the ground. And for the foolhardy fan wanting to be the first to streak at a Manuka Test, staff had “modesty” blankets on hand to cover the privates of pitch invaders. But the ultimate Australian sporting credibility thumbs up was the fact that the nearby Kingston Hotel was reportedly drunk dry by thirsty cricket fans.

THE international Year of the Pig may end up being the year of the dog in Canberra with the local greyhound industry refusing to let go of the bone after being put down last year. Canberra owners and trainers are still focused on being able to race on their home track and are heading to the High Court in March. And the dangerous-dog issue is set to again come under the microscope.

A PHOTO of a political dog with several election campaigns under its collar has made the shortlist of a national photographic competition. Canberra photographer Jamila Toderas’ snap of would-be politician Steven Bailey and his faithful black lab Bruce is one of two local entries to make the final cut of the 2019 National Photographic Portrait Prize. Bruce gained notoriety assisting its master as he campaigned for elections as a Katter Australia Party and Sex Party candidate. Wouter Van de Voorde also made the final 40 .

HIGHLY regarded commercial radio man George Mihalos has died. The dual ACRA winning announcer/producer who spent many years with the Capital radio network in Canberra succumbed to cancer after a decade-long battle. Tributes from across the radio industry flooded in after the news of George’s passing. He was 47. 

THE damning findings of an investigation into Canberra’s public health sector will come as no surprise to many who have worked in and around the system. But the “worrying and poor culture” which the review found “exists within ACT Health” would surely shock former chief minister and health minister Katy Gallagher. The ACT Labor Senate candidate assured me on many occasions during her tenure there was “not a serious bullying problem in the ACT”.

THERE would also be few around Yass who would be surprised to learn the “palatability of Yass water is a major issue to be addressed”. Yass Valley Council explained in a press release that “due to current climatic conditions, water catchment experiences excessive levels of manganese and iron” which oxidises and causes “discolouration and an unpleasant smell”.

In mitigation, the council says, had it not made the “difficult decision to prioritise water security over aesthetic appearance and taste” by raising the dam wall in 2013, residents “may presently have better-tasting water but would also be experiencing severe water restrictions”. Kind of damned if you do and damned if you…

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