By Mike Welsh

IF the city of mostly true believers is still disappointed by the election result it could always build a bridge and get over it. Speculation of a brand, spanking new structure spanning Lake Burley Griffin might just be the tonic. 

The National Capital Authority has confirmed a study of completely replacing Commonwealth Avenue Bridge will begin, rather than building a separate structure to accommodate light rail to Woden.

AND if a new bridge doesn’t do it, a naked man walking across the existing one with a pumpkin on his head surely would. Thankfully we won’t be exposed to such a spectacle after Sydney journalist Eddy Jokovich reneged on his pledge to “walk nude from Sydney to Canberra balancing a pumpkin on my head” if the coalition won the Federal election.

Pumpkinhead Eddy’s copped a shellacking on social media in the days since, pathetically responding on Twitter: “To all those perverts with their binoculars out there expecting this to happen, if the Liberals can lie and break their promises, so can I. None of the polls predicted Morrison’s re-election, few expected it. People make mistakes. Go and have a cold shower, all of you”. 

Given shrinkage and Canberra’s climate, a nothing-to-see-here-folks headline has gone begging.

SCOTT Morrison’s miraculous victory has brought the “fast tracking” of Canberra’s light rail to Woden to a shuddering halt. ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr must now explore other avenues of funding. Stage 2 was more likely under a Shorten government with its pledge of $200 million. A shellshocked Barr suggested the re-election of the coalition was “going to set back the time frame, there’s no doubting that,” with 2025 “a more realistic time frame”.

IF the next ACT election takes on a Trump/ScoMo presidential tone the Canberra Liberals will need Mark Parton as its leader. Armed with little, the local Libs won’t be able to resist a “Barr will tax you to death” version of the “Crooked Hillary” and “Shifty Bill” template which worked a treat for Donald Trump and Scott Morrison.

Morrison is the consummate salesman. Parton is a very good salesman. Both have extensive experience in media roles before entering politics and the skills to “buy and sell” career political types such as Bill Shorten and, locally, Alistair Coe. Political campaigns are now 100 per cent sizzle with no room for sausage.

WITHIN 48 hours of the first quiet murmurs of a Labor defeat turning into a loud roar, reinstated ACT Labor senator Katy Gallagher had put the bite on me. Late on Monday I received a “Don’t mourn, join” email from the former ACT chief minister. “Mike, Saturday night’s election was disappointing for Labor supporters and voters across Australia. But now it’s time to rally together and look to the fight ahead”. Before the signwriters had even reattached the shingle to her new/old office, Katy was asking me “to join our progressive movement and become a member of the ALP”.

THE once fierce resistance to Canberra’s annual kangaroo cull has dimmed over recent times, but the 2019 program targeting a record number of roos has reawakened protesters’ rage. Twenty four organisations, including filmmaker Creative Cowboy and British-based vegan charity Viva, have issued a statement condemning the killing of 4076 kangaroos and unknown numbers of joeys. The group claims: “When global scientists have issued the strongest call yet to reverse ‘nature’s dangerous decline’, the ACT government is overseeing the cruel mass slaughter of over 4000 kangaroos.”

STILL on activism; Manuka’s fashionable district is not known for its tree huggers nor is it traditionally a haven for those with a penchant for civil disobedience, which is a relief because such action is no longer necessary to save a mature London Plane tree in Franklin Street. A ruling by the Conservator for Flora and Fauna Ian Walker, has blocked the destruction of the tree standing in the way of a proposed European-style, neoclassical, seven-storey hotel near the Capitol Cinema.

THE good folk of Curtin have been very generous with donations to the recent Anglicare Pantry appeal. Volunteers spent the weekend outside the local Coles store and gathered around 5000 items. The supermarket manager says that takings were up $30,000 for the week and the food items donated during the weekend filled more than 40 trolleys.


By Mike Welsh

Canberra’s tennis superstar Nick Kyrgios has returned home to spend Christmas with his family.

The world number 35 is taking a breather from a tumultuous season which saw him continue to clash with officials and frustrate fans.  In November Kyrgios admitted he was taking steps to improve his overall approach to tennis and that he was seeking expert help to “get on top of “ his mental health issues.

Earlier in the year legendary tennis brat and former world number 1 John McEnroe said that Kyrgios “was the best tennis player I’ve seen in the past 10 years” but feared he  risks “running himself out of the game” 

A relaxed Nick Kyrgios at the Kaleen Tennis Club

Kyrgios made himself available to hundreds of excited youngsters at the Kaleen Tennis Club today. The 23 year old looked relaxed and was happy to sign autographs and pose for photos.

On the NK foundation

For the first time, I feel like there is a reason for what I am doing. Tennis is a great life – we are well paid and the perks are pretty good – but it can feel empty if you’re just doing it for the money. I now know what it’s all for. When I work on the NK Foundation and our Melbourne facility, I cast my mind forward to all the disadvantaged kids I will be helping. I’m playing for them now. Nick Kyrgios on the NKFoundation

As hundreds of excited kids swarmed around Kygrios his mum Norlaila and sister Halimah manned a ‘merch’ stall groaning under the weight of everything from wrist bands and t.shirts to baseball caps and tennis sox all under the NK Foundation brand. The foundation’s mission statement is Giving Dreams A Sporting Chance and was founded by the Kyrgios family to offer disadvantaged youngsters the opportunity to play sport in a safe and encouraging environment.. 

His brother and manager Christos said the tennis star will remain in Australia until Jan 26.


Members of Team Kyrgios and coaches at Kaleen Tennis club


By Mike Welsh

Canberra’s Islamic community finally has a new place of worship, 17 years after plans were first made.

(Canberra Times Oct 8 2017)

This post was first published on July 5 2015

On Friday it took just 60 seconds for Master of the ACT Supreme Court, David Mossop, to comprehensively shut down the sinister anti-Muslim group “Concerned Citizens of Canberra” (CCC), which had attempted to “dog whistle” the Gungahlin community over a proposed Mosque two years ago.

Not only did Master Mossop dismiss the group’s legal challenge to the construction in the burgeoning Northern Canberra suburb, he also hit it with “costs”- which could exceed $200,000.

Within 20 seconds of sitting in his chair, Master Mossop stunned the six CCC supporters in court to hear the decision, with a firm “application dismissed” before quickly numbering the points of his ruling.

Following this speedy summary, “All rise” was called and Mossop was gone.

Friday’s court date forced the relentlessly secretive group to thrust their spokesperson, Christian Pastor Irwin Ross, before the media glare, an experience he seemed to relish once he got rolling.

A shocked and almost speechless Ross told me as we walked together from Court 6 , minutes after the spectacularly swift slap-down , that the group would need to “read the detail” of the document before making any statement.

The CCC’s lame mantra of a ”social impact, public interest and concerns about traffic and noise” quickly vanished and switched to its more strident agenda…

They (Muslims) are taking over. Gungahlin is just the beginning. Mosques and schools are popping up all over the place. Coles and Woolies are already full of Halal foods.

(Irwin Ross)

The Olive Tree Ministries Pastor went on to highlight the recent kidnapping of over 200 Nigerian schoolgirls by vigilante group Boko Haram and the Boston Marathon bombing, asking, ”What’s behind all this?”

Friday’s ruling should be the final in a long list of humiliating “fails” for the CCC. The group has not gained any support for its hate campaign in the nation’s capital since the original secretive meeting, which attracted just 26 people, in July of 2012.