A suburb in Gough’s honour
As Canberrans laid flowers and tributes to the great man on the steps of Old Parliament House where he was so infamously dismissed in 1975, the ACT Government announced plans to name a Canberra suburb after Gough, and Margret, Whitlam. Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said ‘I think everybody is aware of the important role he has played in this city. He grew up largely in this city and he has, of course, been a very revered Prime Minister and had a significant impact on the role of Canberra as the nation’s capital.’ Of course, with an ego to match his national influence, Gough had given his approval to the Government’s Place Names Committee well in advance of his death. Gallagher suggested that we can expect a suburb in his name after a year from now.
A sharp exchange for Canberra’s prison guards
The bout between the ACT Government and ACT Secretary for the CPSU Vince McDevitt, has beefed up a notch. McDevitt has accused the Government of coercing Canberra’s prison guards saying ‘we think it’s regrettable the government is seeking to in effect blackmail our members by denying them a pay rise if they not do agree to roll out the red carpet for needles in the jail.’… perhaps ignoring that the needles are already in the jail. In any case, a meeting will be held between the two sparring parties this week with ACT Corrections Minister Shane Rattenbury pre-empting that ‘I’m hopeful that we can resolve the outstanding issues, get the EBA sorted and get the workers their back pay as soon as possible’. Neither side seems to be showing any sign of backing down. Luckily for Shane, things aren’t sorted out the old fashioned way anymore… or are they?
ACT’s economy deteriorates
Although Canberra’s unemployment remains Australia’s second lowest at 4.6 per cent, the ACT’s economy is the second worst performing in the nation according to CommSec’s State of the States report. The decade unemployment average is 3.4 per cent. Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson said it was ‘very disappointing that the ACT economy has gone from best performing to close to the worst under Katy Gallagher.’ We’ll just ignore the federal budget for the time being, shall we? During Questions without Notice this week, Treasurer Barr bit back accusing the Opposition of trashing the economy, lauding our AAA credit rating. So I suppose we can just borrow some more money! But will they spend it on the right things?
Labor backbencher Yvette Berry has resurrected the issue of same-sex marriage in the Legislative Assembly a year from the very day the Marriage Equality Bill was passed. The Commonwealth successfully challenge the decision in the High Court and the rest is history, but the issue will not go away. Obviously the gesture is in vain, and the more the ACT carries on with anything, the less the Commonwealth will listen. The irony, for the Left anyway, would be that if same-sex marriage was instituted under Abbott, he would remain Prime Minister for a lot longer than he might otherwise.
A federal note: Lambie…
Australia’s most intelligent politician, Jacqui Lambie, has cautioned the country of Ebola-infected ‘suicide agents’. During a Senate Estimates hearing, Lambie quizzed a puzzled Vice Admiral Ray Griggs asking ‘do you have any information to suggest that Australia’s enemies could attack our country or military using the virus?’ Will someone please shoot me now.