BARR’S LIGHT-RAIL ANALOGY TAKES THE PRIZE

By Mike Welsh – July 1, 2019

Chief Minister Andrew Barr’s light-rail analogy to explain away the shock resignation of tipped Labor leadership aspirant Meegan Fitzharris took the prize, says Seven Days columnist MIKE WELSH

ALL the usual, overused cliches were wheeled out in the wake of the shock resignation of senior ACT minister Meegan Fitzharris

The dependable duo of “spending more time with the family” and “difficult decision”, were mixed with the plausible “time is right” and the elusive “work/life balance”. 

But it was Chief Minister Andrew Barr’s light-rail analogy that took the prize. Barr explained: “The tracks of your life are laid down for another four years if you commit to the process, so now is the time to be making those sorts of decisions.”

Barr’s pragmatism could be code for “covering your (tram) tracks” or referencing an out-of-control train “hurtling down the line”. Two questions remain: was the Yerrabi Express politically derailed due to an overloaded baggage car? Or did Ms Fitzharris simply bite off more than she could “Choo Choo”?

THE Canberra Airport managing director has gone into bat for our society’s marginalised. Stephen Byron, who participated in the recent Vinnies CEO sleepout in an airport hangar, says the Newstart allowance is “so low it’s a joke”. Byron, who raised more than $70,000 for the annual fundraiser, says the benefit should be increased by $75 a week. Most economists agree, suggesting the increase would stimulate the economy and create employment.

STILL at the sleepout and there were a few sniggers from among the high flyers who’d stepped into the shoes of the homeless, doing it tough for a few hours. At sunrise, as the bleary-eyed participants packed up their cardboard mattresses, a chauffeur wandered through the homeless hangar to whisk his charge back to their real world.

FORMER Brumbies star Clyde Rathbone has confused social-media followers with bizarre comments on fellow former Wallaby Israel Folau. In an opinion piece on the online platform PlayersVoice, the South African-born player appeared to be standing by Izzy.

“I feel for him as a person. He’s got strange ideas in his head and didn’t necessarily choose them,” he wrote. 

“He appears to be caught up in a relatively small community of zealots”. But unhelpfully Rathbone, or “Rattlebones” to his mates, later tweeted: “For three million I will make sweet love to Israel Folau. We can even do it in a church to make sure it’s not gay sex. Call me @IzzyFolau”.

IN these days of rapidly disappearing provincial TV newsrooms comes a documentary on the demise of a local news bulletin that had run for 40 years. Canberra commercial radio producer/journalist Daniel Pizarro has put together “Ten Capital News: The final days”. The 20-minute production featuring the anchorman’s anchorman Greg Robson, with contributions from Greg HughesVirginia Haussegger and ABC anchor Craig Allenchronicles the end of the one-hour bulletin, axed in November 2001. Pizarro plans to enter the doco in festivals beginning with September’s Canberra Film Festival.

IF Canberra isn’t the tailgate capital of Australia I’ll wager it’s in the top two. I’ve long wished for a better and more apt way to respond to the impatient bully bearing down on me. “Dangerous dickhead” lost its power long ago. But thanks to one of our National Living Treasures, I feel better knowing someone else considers tailgaters to be the worst of the worst. In his regular column in “The Australian” Phillip Adams writes: “Whilst opposed to capital punishment, I reckon tailgaters deserve the death penalty”.

AND still in traffic, an update on the rogue cyclist I wrote about on June 13 (playing chicken with four lanes of peak-hour traffic) who was at it again this week. This time his arrogant antics were met with a chorus of blasting horns. His response was to boldly give them and anyone else in the vicinity the middle finger. Seems while most of us are bound to obey road rules there are some, often cyclists, who apparently have been given special dispensation from annoying and tedious regulations.

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