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ACT News

Canberra Mornings Live: Thursday, April 4


Bringing you breaking news from across the capital and beyond, including weather, traffic updates and what the capital is talking about.

Weatherzone: ACT storm tracker

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Lucy Rickard: We're about to wrap up our live blog for the morning, but and we'll leave you with a couple of interesting pieces to read before we head off.

Peter FitzSimons has written an opinion piece today on Tom Waterhouse.

"I'm sorry Gai Waterhouse, but when kids are lining up for your son's autograph, it really is time to act."

SMH reporter Sarah Whyte's piece on our habits as a consumer is a bit surprising... or is it?

You may think you are an exciting individual, but chances are your consumer habits are making you ''astonishingly boring''.

A new study has found the daily habits of 46 per cent of consumers drive their shopping choices, steadfast in their brand loyalty.

And closer to home, Ian Warden has written a nice piece on the eighth annual Anzac Aged Care ceremony at the Australian War Memorial, for those too frail to brave the big crowds at the Anzac Day Dawn Service.

Thanks for joining us this morning - we hope to see you back here again tomorrow (TGIF!).

In the meantime, if you have any hot news tips, feel free to get in touch via email, Twitter or Facebook.

John Thistleton's follow-up piece to the duplex-half that was demolished has gone straight to the top our most-read stories for today.

The demolition of one half of a duplex in Yarralumla has enraged neighbours, sent planners diving into the rule books and put the breeze up builders fearful of more laws.

This is followed closely by Tom McIlroy's yarn on the newest gym to arrive in town - Gold's Gym, known within the bodybuilding for its 70 kilo dumbbells and muscle-clad members. And of course, Arnold Schwarzenegger. (Go on, take a look at the video of Arnie pumping weights).


Our resident kayak cameraman has delivered the goods again this morning - it might have been cold but he was out there on the lake again, letting us know what we're missing out on this morning.

On the lake with the Kayak Cameraman Paul Jurak on April 4.

On the lake with the Kayak Cameraman Paul Jurak on April 4.

Lisa Cox: ACTEW will face an Assembly committee hearing on Thursday to answer questions about its annual report.

Chairman John Mackay and Managing Director Mark Sullivan will be questioned about the under-reporting of Mr Sullivan's salary in 2010-11.

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher has criticised the under-reporting of Mr Sullivan's salary by $234,000 in an ACTEW annual report and a letter to the shareholders in 2011, which both stated his remuneration package was $621,171 when it was in fact $855,000.

The hearing begins at noon.

Breaking news from inside Fairfax Media.

Fairfax Metro Media chief executive Jack Matthews is set to leave the publishing company in a massive shake-up that will see its business units reshuffled and merged.

Jack Matthews.

Jack Matthews. Photo: Luis Ascui

A colony of Antarctic penguins could be excused for feeling like climate change's big winners.

A study has found a group of Adelie penguins on Beaufort Island in the Ross Sea, 3500km south of New Zealand, has significantly boosted its numbers as nearby glaciers have receded. Numbers in the colony increased by 84 per cent as habitat grew by 71 per cent.

Adelie penguins near  Casey station  Antarctica.

Adelie penguins near Casey station Antarctica. Photo: Angela Wylie

Grant Newton: Lowering the voter age to 16 would not increase political participation, according to a new study. Australian National University political scientist Ian McAllister has found that enfranchising Australia’s 500,000 16 to 17-year-olds would not significantly increase political participation or enhance fairness. Analysis showed that voter turnout was lowest among the youngest age groups - 71 per cent for those aged 18 to 20, and 68 per cent among those aged 21 to 23. Lowering the voter age would also bring into question the age people could stand for election. ‘‘Should 16 year-old voters be eligible to become MPs or senators?’’ Professor McAllister said.


Lucy Rickard: Things are looking good on the roads this morning - no accidents to report so far, and there's only been a couple of small delays to two bus services.

Have you seen anything on the roads that we should know about? Email us, tweet us or comment below and we'll look into it.

Federal independent MP Bob Katter fears he and his supporters will be thrown in the slammer because he's a political threat to the major parties.

Asked if he expects a dirty campaign from the major parties, Mr Katter referred to the jailing of Pauline Hanson.

"My chief of staff had everybody in and said staff understand this ... we expect they will try to throw us in jail," he told ABC Radio on Thursday.

"Every time you fill out a form, anytime you do anything or say anything be aware we are in danger of going to jail."

Independent MP Bob Katter.

Independent MP Bob Katter. Photo: Andrew Meares

Calling all Canberra cyclists... this page is for you.

The Lycra Diaries is a place where you can share your stories, images, ideas and questions about bike riding in the capital. We want to know about the issues you face as cyclist in Canberra.

John-Paul Moloney: On the local news agenda this morning...we'll be taking a close look at the ACT Government's after hours news dump last night about a possible asbestos find on the Stromlo Forest Park mountainbike trail.  

We'll also be in the Assembly when ACTEW reps front a committee hearing.  Lisa Cox will be there for what could be some tough questioning after a few months - and certainly the past week - all at the water provider would love to forget.  

Larissa Nicholson will take a look at a new study out from the ANU that has found lowering the voting age to 16 would not improve political participation or make the system fairer.  Teens, it seems, wouldn't be all that keen to vote anyhow, with intended voter turnout lowest among 18-20 years, then increasing significantly as voters get older.

And keep an eye out later this morning for some property news. Matt Raggatt is chasing up news on a large development proposal, while John Thistleton ventures out of town to talk to some landholders concerned about an upcoming windfarm project. 


Josh Dugan.

Josh Dugan.

St George Illawarra urged to sign troubled former Raider Josh Dugan but on one proviso: that it contains a one-strike-and-you're-out clause.

''If I was the CEO, I'd go and get him but you'd have plenty of clauses in there saying, 'You stuff up, you're out with no money','' rugby league immortal Graeme Langlands said.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard will speak at the Foreign Correspondents Association lunch at noon today where she will reveal more about her China strategy before she leaves for the country tomorrow.

Lucy Rickard: What station are you tuned into this morning?

Ross Solly's reign as the King of Canberra Breakfast Radio has come to end, with Scotty and Nige from 104.7 taking out top spot in the latest Nielsen ratings.

Scotty Masters and Nigel Johnson aka Scotty and Nige from 104.7 have knocked 666 ABC Canberra's Ross Solly off the perch in the breakfast radio ratings.

Scotty Masters and Nigel Johnson aka Scotty and Nige from 104.7 have knocked 666 ABC Canberra's Ross Solly off the perch in the breakfast radio ratings.

Grant Newton: A quick weather update … It’s currently 8 degrees in the capital (7.4 at Tuggeranong) heading for a top today of 19. We’re in for a mostly cloudy day with light winds from the east/south-east. Tomorrow will be partly cloudy with a top of 21 and afternoon showers are forecast for Saturday and Sunday.


Today's cartoon from David Pope...

Editorial cartoon, 20 September. Click for more photos

David Pope

Editorial cartoon, 20 September. Photo: David Pope

A shocking story from the Brisbane Times this morning.

System failings at a Queensland hospital have meant that 10 patients, who were supposed to be closely monitored, have walked to a nearby "suicide hotspot" and taken their own lives.

Grant Newton: Canberra mountain-bikers take note …

The ACT Government has advised that sections of the main trunk trail at Stromlo Forest Park are closed until further notice after the discovery of asbestos material on two sections of the track.

The section of trail between ‘Red Rock’ and ‘Tall Trees’ has been closed and signage directing people to the ‘Luge’ have been installed.

The ACT Government has started the clean-up and webbing is also being installed on the top of the trail where the trail comes close to the Mount Stromlo Road.


Front page news in the Top End is once again providing a bit of entertainment on Twitter.

Something for fans of The Canberra Times' Ian Warden.

Jenna Clarke: The style set will trek to Canberra Airport this morning for an announcement regarding the upcoming Canberra Fashfest.

Founder Clinton Hutchinson and a team of local designers will stage a mini fashion parade at the Airport's new Atrium.

Canberra's first ever Fashion Week type event will take place from May 1-4 and will showcase the best threads produced in the Capital.

Former supermodel Anneliese Seubert is the official Fashfest "face", while Canberra's own winner of Project Runway winner - Anthony Capon - will return home to show off his latest collection ahead of his Paris Fashion Week debut.



Grant Newton: BREAKING NEWS ... The North Korean army said it had final approval to launch ‘‘merciless’’ military strikes on the United States, involving the possible use of ‘‘cutting-edge’’ nuclear weapons. In a statement published by the official KCNA news agency, the General Staff of the Korean People’s Army said it was formally informing Washington that US threats would be ‘‘smashed by ... cutting-edge smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear strike means. The merciless operation of (our) revolutionary armed forces in this regard has been finally examined and ratified.’’

Two men in their 20s have robbed a doctor of his medical bag containing prescription drugs on the state's south coast.

Police say the men sprang out of bushes and threatened to hit the 42-year-old doctor as he was leaving his local practice at Bulli about 9pm.

Lucy Rickard: Known for its 70 kilogram dumbbells and muscle-clad members, the gym known around the world as "the mecca" of bodybuilding has arrived in Canberra.

Golds - originating in California in the 60s - quickly became associated with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Reminds me a bit of this music clip.... Arnie in all his glory.

It might be cold but you're looking pretty good out there this morning, Canberra.

The mobile phone has turned 40 with no fanfare to mark the occasion in a market which seemed focused on new smartphones like the iPhone and a possible Facebook-themed device.

The first mobile call was placed April 3, 1973, by Motorola engineer Martin Cooper, head of a team working on mobile communication technologies.

David Aboui, also known as 'Gabrielle Malak' was last seen on July 10 last year at London Circuit

David Aboui, also known as 'Gabrielle Malak' was last seen on July 10 last year at London Circuit

Lucy Rickard: Police have renewed calls for help in locating a man missing for nearly nine months.

David Aboui, also known as 'Gabrielle Malak' was last seen on July 10 last year at London Circuit - police believe he may have travelled to Sydney and are appealing for anyone who has seen him to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Grant Newton: From Washington overnight … The United States has posted a $5 million reward for information leading to the arrest of Lord’s Resistance Army chief Joseph Kony, and a similar bounty for three other rebel leaders. Kony has been on the run in the jungles of Central Africa but the LRA has waged a fierce insurgency across four countries for two decades. 


Leader of the Lord's Resistance Army Joseph Kony.

Leader of the Lord's Resistance Army Joseph Kony. Photo: Reuters

Making headlines at the Sydney Morning Herald today:

Tabloid television program A Current Affair has been found by the broadcasting watchdog to have breached accuracy, privacy and complaints-handling codes in its report on Olympic gold medallist Neil Brooks.

A rainbow pedestrian crossing on Sydney's Oxford Street is in the spotlight, with MPs arguing over whether or not it should be removed.

And Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said he ''suspects'' Tim Flannery, the head of Australia's Climate Commission, would be made redundant if Mr Abbott becomes prime minister.

Taylor Square

Taylor Square Photo: Supplied

A 23-year-old man has died at South Nowra on the NSW south coast after his motorbike left the road and hit a tree.

The man, believed to be from Bomaderry in NSW, died at the scene shortly after the accident on Wednesday afternoon.

Police have called off the search for the wreckage of a light plane, missing off the west coast of the Northern Territory since Monday. 

Authorities recovered the bodies of a man, a woman and a girl on a remote beach near Cape Ford, southwest of Darwin, on Tuesday. The search for the body of the second girl and the plane's fuselage have been suspended indefinitely.

Lucy Rickard: A quick look at business, and oil and metals led a gauge of commodities down the most since November and US benchmark stock indexes retreated from records while Treasuries rallied after reports on the American economy trailed estimates.

Treasury boss Martin Parkinson says he remains blind to the size of crucial accounting measures that are helping big mining companies to reduce their mining tax payments, and will continue to be for some time yet.

ANZ chief executive Mike Smith insists there is no change in the bank's Asian growth strategy, despite the sudden departure of the executive leading its push into the region

And RBA governor Glenn Stevens' term has been extended for further three years.

Grant Newton: Making headlines around the nation this morning …

  • Australian and Indonesian officials have discussed the need to boost co-operation on counter-terrorism and measures, aimed at tackling people smuggling, including the possibility of joint security patrols.
  • A cloud hangs over the future of the Climate Commission, with the federal coalition again vowing to scrap the independent science body if Tony Abbott becomes prime minister.
  • Investigations are underway into whether a gastroenteritis outbreak caused by Tasmanian oysters contaminated with human waste has spread interstate. More than 60 cases of gastro were reported in Tasmania over the Easter weekend.


Indonesia's Defence Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro, Australia's Foreign Minister Bob Carr,  Defence Minister Stephen Smith and Indonesia's Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa at the Foreign Ministry office in Jakarta.

Indonesia's Defence Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro, Australia's Foreign Minister Bob Carr, Defence Minister Stephen Smith and Indonesia's Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa at the Foreign Ministry office in Jakarta. Photo: Reuters

The Canberra Times front page for April 4, 2013.

The Canberra Times front page for April 4, 2013.

Lucy Rickard: On the front page today...

  • The Gillard government is under pressure to reveal its plan for superannuation within weeks after three of the crossbenchers it needs to get the changes through Parliament said it will treat them more favourably if they are unveiled before the May budget.
  • A retired public servant has told Chris Johnson he is pleased he doesn't have to worry about his super being tinkered with – but he's still concerned for other retirees.
  • The US and China have tested their defence hotline, inching closer towards the sort of communication that both sides hopes might prevent accidents from getting out of hand.
  • The results are in from the National Gallery – and it turns out that we're hooked on European art, with the Toulouse Lautrec show making it into the top 10.
  • And the outdoor urinals introduced into the Canberra CBD last month may become a permanent fixture after a successful trial period.
Daniel McBreen and Trent Sainsbury of the Mariners celebrate a goal during the AFC Asian Champions League match between the Central Coast Mariners and Guizhou Renhe last night.

Daniel McBreen and Trent Sainsbury of the Mariners celebrate a goal during the AFC Asian Champions League match between the Central Coast Mariners and Guizhou Renhe last night. Photo: Getty Images

Grant Newton: A quick hit of morning sport …

  • Broncos skipper Sam Thaiday was last night banned for one game by the NRL judiciary. Thaiday failed to beat a contrary conduct charge for touching a referee, with the panel taking less than two minutes to come up with the verdict.
  • Trent Sainsbury picked the perfect moment to score his first goal for Central Coast, heading in late to earn the Mariners a 2-1 win over Chinese side Guizhou Renhe that revives his side’s Asian Champions League campaign.
  • Parramatta coach Ricky Stuart will make Sharks skipper Paul Gallen stick to a promise and walk down The Kingsway in Cronulla naked if the beleaguered Eels can beat his team this weekend.


Grant Newton: Around the world in 80 words …

Taliban militants have stormed an Afghan court, killing at least 44 people including 34 civilians, six soldiers and four policemen.  91 people, most civilians, were injured. In Germany a World War II bomb unearthed near Berlin’s main train station has been defused in a delicate operation that snarled rail and road traffic for several hours. North Korea has blocked access to the Kaesong joint industrial zone with South Korea - the only surviving example of inter-Korean cooperation and a crucial source of hard currency for Pyongyang.


A defused World War II bomb is secured on a truck near Berlin's main train station.

A defused World War II bomb is secured on a truck near Berlin's main train station. Photo: Reuters

Grant Newton: It’s currently 7 degrees in the capital heading for a top today of 19. We’re in for a mostly cloudy day with light winds. There’s a 20 per cent chance of rain, according to the Bureau.

Looking ahead, tomorrow will be partly cloudy with a top of 21 and afternoon showers are forecast for Saturday and Sunday.


Grant Newton: Good morning Canberra and welcome to our live news blog on this chilly Thursday morning.

We’ll bring you a full weather update shortly.

Get in touch this morning and let us know what's going on in your world - we're on Facebook and Twitter @canberratimes. Don't forget to include the #CanberraMornings hashtag in your tweets.

You can also email us news tips, photos and comments at


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  • It is annoying when you hear silly statements like"canberra does not have a soul"
    when media refer to Canberra when they mean "the federal government"

    canberra best city in australia keep it quiet


    Date and time
    April 04, 2013, 7:26AM

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