2 December 2022

Hairy lips, Christmas tips, and art in all its glory: more APS news bites from our hound on the ground

| Mr Smiggle
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Mr Smiggle

Mr Smiggle, Region’s hound on the ground. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

It’s been a huge week for politicians, public servants and media hacks. Here are my latest offerings of juicy bits from around the traps. Enjoy.

Mo it off, please

November is over and so is Movember – and not a moment too soon.

Movember is a great cause for men’s health and I applaud all those blokes who put down the shaver in order to raise some funds.

But really! There have been some weird and wonderful sights across the ranks of the APS over the past month.

It’s great to see the Senior Executive Service leading by example. The SES definitely embraced Movember with enthusiasm this year.

There have been the prolific handlebar moustache growers (very impressive) as well as those who have tried really, really hard but haven’t managed to get past the bumfluff stage on their upper lips for the entire month.

And everything else in between.

So, well done to you guys who have gone (or tried to go) hirsute for a good cause. And a pat on the back to everyone – guys and gals – who sponsored and donated.

But can we please get back to ”normal” now? It’s been freaking me out.

READ ALSO APS rising leaders being told to ‘think and act more like consultancies’

Christmas cheer

Services Australia hit the headlines this week when we here at Region broke the story of about 1000 contractors being laid off.

Hundreds of them have already been given their notices to finish up – right before Christmas.

But I hear there are quite a few of them now asking for a refund of the money they’ve already coughed up to attend the work Christmas dinner.

So far, they haven’t seen a cent of it. They’ve been told to turn up anyway and party with their now former colleagues.


Arts minister for art’s sake

I was snooping around the High Court Wednesday evening and found myself enjoying the Canberra Institute of Technology’s photography exhibition VIP night.

It was the night of night for CIT’s photography students exhibiting their finest work to a gathering of friends and family.

Among the crowd was Federal Arts Minister Tony Burke admiring the very impressive works on display.

His presence was acknowledged by the MC about halfway through the formalities and the Minister waved to the crowd.

But Mr Burke had no actual role to play at the event and didn’t even step foot on the podium for a second.

He just turned up to this relatively small Canberra event to show his support for these up-and-coming artists.

Now that’s an Arts Minister!

READ ALSO Coalition has win over Government’s bid to reduce Senate Estimates

The tale of two former prime ministers

Speaking of art – Tony Abbott finally has his picture hanging in the portrait hall of Parliament House.

It only took seven years to get his portrait painted, hung and unveiled.

It is a mighty fine piece of art by cartoonist Johannes Leak and does the former PM justice.

The unveiling ceremony, attended by current PM Anthony Albanese, was a dignified event and one befitting someone who was once the holder of the highest political office in the land.

The ceremony took place, however, while just a few steps away MPs geared up to censure another former PM from the same side of politics, Scott Morrison.

Oh, the irony.

Caving in the coolness stakes

And talking of prime ministers, can someone please tell Mr Albanese to rein it in with all these corny appearances with rock stars.

The magnificent Nick Cave played two spectacular concerts in Canberra this week and the PM had to get in on the game.

Albo pops up everywhere at rock festivals these days. He’s that cool (hmmm).

But the coolness of Nick Cave is another level completely and the PM should have just left it alone.

Albo was at Monday’s gig and although he never stepped foot on the stage (there’s no way Cave would have allowed that), he did get a selfie with the brilliant musician and posted it on social media.

The PM hosted his own show on Tuesday, with the end-of-year drinks at The Lodge for Press Gallery journalists.

It was a shorter event this year than is usual, but allowed enough time for the PM to show off the First Dog (hmmph).

The jokes were quite embarrassing, though – not to mention some silly undergrad antics from the PM’s media staff.

Smiggle out.

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Hey Mr Smiggle. you have a real a sense of music. Our Australian musicians are up there with the best. I am glad you mentioned our very own Nick Cave who I didn’t know was in town. There is also Dan Sultan and the Waifs. They are just some of our musicians. I am hooked on them all!

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