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Canberra Mornings Live: Friday December 12

All the latest local, national and world news, weather and traffic. See something? Tweet us @canberratimes or email us morningblog@canberratimes.com.au.

That's it for me today. Have a great weekend.

Primrose Riordan will be back in the hot seat taking you through Monday morning.

In case you missed it, Canberra's own tennis sensation Nick Kyrgios had the second top tweet by an Australian athlete, just behind Tim Cahill.

The tweet, following his stunning fourth-round Wimbledon win over world No.1 Rafael Nadal, had 770,000 impressions and Kyrgios gained more than 35,000 new followers in 24 hours.

Kyrgios's victory had a huge impact on Twitter.

The 19-year-old was mentioned more than 205,000 times in 24 hours.

Canberra's booming market scene will get another boost tonight when the Night Market Canberra launches at The Realm precinct in Barton.

The park will be transformed into a hub of stalls, food, live entertainment and a pop-up bar, with the precinct's businesses all getting involved.

Existing Realm food outlets Ostani, Malamay and Maple and Clove will cater the food for the event and a pop-up bar at Maple and Clove will serve juices, smoothies, jugs of pimms and frozen margaritas.

The market will also be an opportunity to have a first taste from LiLo Tang Japanese, which is to open in the Realm precinct in mid-January.

Founders of Night Market Canberra, (from left) Marissa Christian and Natalie Weber.
Founders of Night Market Canberra, (from left) Marissa Christian and Natalie Weber. Photo: Jamila Toderas

In local sport, there are two T20 cricket grand finals being played at Manuka Oval this Sunday.

In the women's grade, Eastlake will play Weston Creek in a rematch of last year's T20 grand final from 11am.

At 7pm, the final of the men's Konica Minolta Cup will commence. Which clubs contest it will be decided in semi-finals starting earlier in the day at 1.30pm.

Wests will play North Canberra Gungahlin in the first semi at Jamison Oval, while Weston Creek plays Queanbeyan at Stirling in the other decider. 

Eastlake batter Amy Jason-Jones and Weston Creek Molonglo wicket keeper Sarah Seckold in last season's grand final.
Eastlake batter Amy Jason-Jones and Weston Creek Molonglo wicket keeper Sarah Seckold in last season's grand final.  Photo: Jeffrey Chan

Point Hut Crossing is now closed due to recent wet weather, the ACT government advises.

The following roads also remain closed to motorists and other road users:

  • Sunshine Crossing
  • Angle Crossing

For up-to-date information on road closures please call Canberra Connect on 13 22 81 or visit www.tams.act.gov.au.

In sport, Canberra United will take on Melbourne Victory in the W-League semi-final in Geelong at 3pm tomorrow.

They're hoping central defender and former captain Ellie Brush will be able to play, after going down with an ankle injury in their spectacular 2-1 victory over premiers Perth last weekend.

If United win, they could see another home grand final next weekend – but only if Sydney FC beats Perth on Sunday.

In the WNBL, the Canberra Capitals take on Townsville Fire on Sunday at the AIS Arena at 3pm.

The Capitals will be without Lauren Jackson, who was due to make her long-awaited return, but didn't make it through training this week.

The team will also celebrate Carly Wilson's 300th game, which she brought up three weeks ago in Perth, before the match.

Both games will be televised on ABC TV.

Lisa De Vanna of the Victory and Ellie Brush of Canberra contest the ball in round seven.
Lisa De Vanna of the Victory and Ellie Brush of Canberra contest the ball in round seven. Photo: Robert Prezioso/Getty Images
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The new ACT ministry has been revealed, Kirsten Lawson reports.

Deputy Chief Minister Simon Corbell will become the new health minister, taking on the difficult portfolio on top of his responsibility for Capital Metro and renewable energy, and his role as Attorney-General.

Mr Corbell shoulders the bulk of the workload in the reshuffle.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr announced a minimal reshuffle, dividing former chief minister Katy Gallagher's responsibilities among the existing ministers without changing ministerial jobs significantly.

He will look to a wider reshuffle after Ms Gallagher's vacancy in the Assembly is filled.

Greens Minister Shane Rattenbury, keeps his current portfolios of Territory and Municipal Services, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, and sport and corrective services, with the addition of justice.

A third man has been charged over the violent robbery of an armoured Chubb van in broad daylight 10 years ago, which saw a guard peppered with shotgun pellets.

The heist saw $151,000 stolen from Chubb security guards, as they collected the weekend takings from the Mawson Club about 3.45pm in May 2004.

The two security guards were carrying satchels of cash back to the van when they were confronted by two men armed with guns.

The 59-year-old Jerrabomberra man will face the ACT Magistrates Court today, charged with aiding and abetting an aggravated robbery.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has used morning TV to confront critics of his controversial chief of staff, suggesting they are sexist.

During an interview with ABC News Breakfast on Friday, Mr Abbott said colleagues attacking Peta Credlin should "take a long hard look at themselves" saying they were doing it because she is female.

Ministers and backbenchers have accused Ms Credlin of ruling the government with an iron fist and questioned key strategic decisions.

Long-running tensions again spilled into the public arena this week when Fairfax Media revealed Mr Abbott's office blocked Foreign Minister Julie Bishop from attending climate talks in Lima.  She only obtained permission to go after after taking the matter to cabinet.

In recent weeks the Prime Minister Tony Abbott's chief of staff Peta Credlin has been reaching out to MPs to listen to ...
In recent weeks the Prime Minister Tony Abbott's chief of staff Peta Credlin has been reaching out to MPs to listen to their policy concerns. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Chief Minister Andrew Barr will announce new ministerial portfolios and the Barr Labor government ministry today.

Mr Barr will discuss the changes before a tour of the Canberra Region Cancer Centre at lunchtime today.

Assembly reporter Kirsten Lawson will be on hand to cover the event.

Yesterday, Mr Barr and balance of power Greens minister Shane Rattenbury reaffirmed the existing parliamentary agreement signed with Katy Gallagher in the wake of the 2012 election.

Whoever believes people aren't interested in politics was not spending much time on Twitter this year.

The #auspol hashtag was the top Twitter trend in Australia in 2014 and the only Australian trend to make it into the global top 30 trends, a year-end analysis of who talked about what and how often on the social media platform shows.

The budget was the most talked about issue, with five separate budget-related stories making it into the top 10 days of discussion of politics, according to a data analysis by Twitter.

Here's a montage of politicians hard at work updating Twitter.
Here's a montage of politicians hard at work updating Twitter. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
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People feeling festive will no doubt be spoilt for choice for Christmas events over the weekend. But here's another.

The Belconnen Christmas in the Park festivities and carols will begin at 5.30pm tomorrow with face painting, jumping castles, a petting zoo, food and display stalls, live music and more, organisers promise.

Carol singing will begin at 7pm at Page Park on MacAdam Street and entry is free.

Front page of The Canberra Times, Friday December 12, 2014
Front page of The Canberra Times, Friday December 12, 2014 

Here are the stories which made the front page of today's paper:

Mass food poisoning victims plan legal action against caterer

Prison rates at highest in decade

Abbott's cleaners ready for wage talks

Buyback begins: 16 accept offers

FOI law overseen by one man at home

The Defence department is investigating why the community was not warned of an air force flypast over yesterday's Australian Defence Force Academy graduation parade at Campbell.

Several residents were left spooked when the jet began circling low.

A Defence spokesperson said it was "standard practice" to issue a noise alert prior to the event so local media could inform residents, but something went wrong this time.

"On this occasion it would appear a technical glitch has prevented this alert from reaching the intended recipients," the spokesperson said.

"Defence is trying to determine the cause of this error and regrets any concern [the flypast] may have caused."

A RAAF C-17A Globemaster flew over Canberra for the ADFA parade yesterday.
A RAAF C-17A Globemaster flew over Canberra for the ADFA parade yesterday. 

Andrew Barr has pledged to use his historic status as the nation's first openly gay head of government to continue to advocate for same-sex marriage in Australia.

He also declared the economy his number one priority and signalled no let up in the Government's determination to deliver the light rail line from Gungahlin, during his first official day as Chief Minister yesterday.

His elevation came the same day the ABS released statistics showing the ACT's unemployment rate had a slight increase to 5.2 per cent in November.

Mr Barr blamed the disappointing unemployment rate on Commonwealth cuts and said creating jobs for Canberra was his leading role.

"The Barr Labor Government will push on with supporting the private sector to help our local businesses to grow and create jobs," he said.

"That's why we're pushing on with our $2.5 billion infrastructure program – which will create jobs and provide the important infrastructure our community needs."

Andrew Barr pictured with partner Anthony Toms, brother and sister in law Iain and Natalie Barr with their daughter Zoe ...
Andrew Barr pictured with partner Anthony Toms, brother and sister in law Iain and Natalie Barr with their daughter Zoe and Andrew’s parents Susan and James Barr.  Photo: Graham Tidy

Another action-packed weekend in Canberra begins. There's baseball at Narrabundah from tonight, markets galore in every corner of the capital, art exhibitions on every end of the scale, and concerts for music-lovers of al genres from hip-hop to Christmas carols.

Electronic  three-piece Safia (from left) Harry Sayers, Ben Woolner and Michael Bell play at Academy this weekend.
Electronic three-piece Safia (from left) Harry Sayers, Ben Woolner and Michael Bell play at Academy this weekend. Photo: Supplied
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Outgoing Chief Minister Katy Gallagher has hit back at "sexist and offensive" comments made by Liberal opposition leader Jeremy Hanson including whether she will have more children after leaving the top job.

Ms Gallagher described Mr Hanson's speech in the Legislative Assembly yesterday as a "graceless negative speech outlining a 1950's vision for Canberra" via her Facebook page Thursday evening.

 
Postman Tim Lawler of Gungahlin with a load of toys for the ACT Motorcycle Riders Association annual toy run. More than ...
Postman Tim Lawler of Gungahlin with a load of toys for the ACT Motorcycle Riders Association annual toy run. More than 800 riders are expected to deliver toys to local charities. Photo: Matt Bedford

Tomorrow ACT motorcyclists will descend on Old Parliament House for the annual Motorcycle Riders Association Toy Run.

It's a show of force by riders who collected tonnes of toys which are distributed through St Johns care and The Salvation Army to kids across the territory.

Celebrate Christmas at Llewellyn Hall, Canberra School of Music, on Saturday night from 7.30pm with music written 230 years apart by two master composers, Antonio Vivaldi and Benjamin Britten, performed by the Canberra Choral Society Massed Choir.

Vivaldi's Gloria, widely used in popular culture, is filled with rich contrasts – from exuberant to reflective, joyful to sombre, playful to grandiose, lyrical to virtuoso.

Then there's Britten's A Ceremony of Carols, one of the most beautiful pieces for children's voices, sung by the youthful Turner Trebles and Vocal Fry. 

The centrepiece is Britten's Saint Nicolas, an enchanting and moving biography of the patron saint of children (and inspiration for Santa Claus).

An action-packed account of the life of Nicolas, complete with bathtubs, shipwrecks, pickled boys, and ladies doomed to shameful sin, it's also full of musical surprises - everything from baroque counterpoint to delicious dissonance to music hall doggerel. 

Tickets $22.43-$56.07 from premier.ticketek.com.au.

Canberra Choral Society Massed Choir
Canberra Choral Society Massed Choir 
Dick Cheney says George Bush knew of and approved the torture.
Dick Cheney says George Bush knew of and approved the torture. 

President George W. Bush was fully aware and an "integral part" of the CIA's torture of terror suspects, his vice-president Dick Cheney said on Wednesday.

The long-awaited US Senate report released on Tuesday on the program of harsh treatment and torture of detainees said Bush only learned details of it in 2006, four years after it started in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington.

Detainees were beaten, waterboarded - some of them dozens of times - and humiliated through the painful use of medically unnecessary "rectal feeding" and "rectal rehydration", the report said.

Speaking to Fox News, Cheney denied Bush was kept out of the loop. He said the then-president "was in fact an integral part of the program and he had to approve it."

Bush has yet to speak out publicly on the Senate report.

"It is more important to get this right than to try to rush it through": Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
"It is more important to get this right than to try to rush it through": Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Photo: Andrew Meares

Tony Abbott wants a referendum to be held in May 2017 to recognise Indigenous Australians in the constitution, but won't commit to a date until he is confident it will succeed.

"I am prepared to sweat blood on this," the Prime Minister declared at a Recognise dinner at Redfern last night, saying the cause was "at least as important as all the other causes this government has been prepared to take on".

While he favoured putting the question on the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum, Mr Abbott said: "But I do not want it to fail because every Australian would be the loser. It is more important to get this right than to try to rush it through.

Speaking after Mr Abbott, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the referendum question needed to be settled before the next election to allow the campaign to move forward.

"Without a specific change to advocate, it's not possible to raise awareness beyond the abstract," Mr Shorten said.

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