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Canberra Mornings Live: Wednesday March 20

Weatherzone: ACT storm tracker

That's where we'll leave the live blog this morning. Thanks for reading, we hope you enjoyed it.

We'll still be bringing you all the latest news today on the Canberra Times homepage.

You can also keep track of us via Twitter at @canberratimes and Facebook.

Images and news tips are always welcome via email at

Have a great day.

Our blogger Paul Jurak was out early on Lake Burley Griffin this morning and sent through this picture. We're a little jealous here at the Canberra Times office - looks like a beautiful day out there.

See more photos from this morning at Paul's blog, Lake View.

From the lake on Wednesday, March 20.
From the lake on Wednesday, March 20. Photo: Paul Jurak

Canberra Times photographer Jay Cronan was at the scene of the traffic hazard in Parkes Way tunnel shortly before traffic got flowing again.

Earlier in the morning traffic on Parkes Way was delayed after a bus had its windscreen smashed by a piece of metal hanging from tunnel roof.

Traffic is now flowing again.


Workmen remove a strip of metal that became dislodged from the roof of the Parkes Way Tunnel.
Workmen remove a strip of metal that became dislodged from the roof of the Parkes Way Tunnel. Photo: Jay Cronan

The Legislative Assembly is sitting today, and it's private members' day, meaning the opposition gets a chance to put forward its motions and bills.

The Canberra Liberals are taking the opportunity to step up the pressure on the ACT to expand the territory's Supreme Court bench.

The Opposition will try to secure the support of the Legislative Assembly for funding in June's territory budget for a fifth judge to help ease severe delays in the gridlocked court.

The ACT Supreme Court.
The ACT Supreme Court. Photo: Graham Tidy

Our daily sports blog SportsDay Live is underway, looking at the future of the head coach of the Australian Swimming team and a plan to introduce a draft in the NRL if clubs lose players from the drugs investigation. You can follow the latest in sports news throughout the day here.

It's a sitting day in the big house on the hill, so Stephanie Peatling has The Pulse Live blog up and going. Barnaby Joyce might be taking on Tony Windsor at September's election, the media laws are still struggling to get through and leadership speculation is at fever pitch - it's gonna be a torrid day in federal parliament and you can keep up with it all here.

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Stephanie Anderson

The historic Hotel Kurrajong is set to go under the hammer today, after a six week marketing campaign for the Barton landmark.

Colliers International agent Michael Heather said there had been a lot of interest in the historic hotel.

“About 40 parties have requested the information,” he said.

“We’re expecting about 10 registered bidders.”

The heritage listed, Art Deco style building will go to auction at 11am, Mr Heather said.

“We’re looking at a range of maybe $8 million to $10 million, but it could be more,” he said.

“There should be some competitive bidding… It’s a historic building and the next chapter in its history will be written today.”


The Hotel Kurrajong at Barton.
The Hotel Kurrajong at Barton. Photo: Jay Cronin
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An update on the Parkes Way traffic hazard earlier.

Our photographer Jay Cronan is on site and says the bus that had its windscreen smashed by a piece of metal in Parkes Way tunnel has moved on, and traffic on the road is now flowing well.

The metal that smashed the windscreen is still hanging down though, and drivers should take care. 


Strong words from Dr Grahame Bates, from the John James Medical Centre, about the state of our health system in today's Letters to the Editor.

The Department of Health bureaucracy is out of control and presiding over a system that in terms of productivity, cost and patient care statistics, such as morbidity, is an increasing disaster for the ACT taxpayer.

In my own practice there are patients who have lost their babies under appalling standards of care. There are also patients who have been seriously harmed beyond lenient allowances for human/clinical failings.

What do you think of the state of our health system?

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NSW Police have arrested a man in Goulburn and charged him over two sexual violence offences dating back more than 20 years.

Detectives recently reviewed DNA evidence from the scene of the crimes, and arrested the man yesterday. 

You can read more here

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A bus has had its windscreen smashed by a sheet of metal hanging off the roof of the Parkes Way tunnel.

This is the cause of the traffic hazard with tunnel on Parkes Way, west bound.

An ESA spokesman said the ACT Ambulance Service was not called to the accident.

One lane is blocked and police are at the scene.

Police have asked motorists to use caution and use alternative route if possible.

John-Paul Moloney.

It's another fine day for higher altitude painting, so expect to see some tiny figures up on the light towers at Manuka Oval.  As we reported today, a four-man crew is applying three coats of an enamel paint in the colour of 'St Enoch Grey'. 

Who was St Enoch?   According to the blog, Undiscovered Scotland, the Enoch is a corruption of the name of Theneva, a princess who legend says fell  pregnant after an "illicit encounter with her cousin...Her unamused father had her tied to a chariot and launched off [a cliff]. It miraculously landed softly, hurting neither Thenva or her unborn child.''

That child went on to become St Mungo, the patron saint of Glasgow.  Given the weather of Glasgow, the mid-grey of the St Enoch paint that will protect the Manuka towers seems appropriate.



Wednesday will be a rest day for the Brumbies. Some of the team will trek up Table Mountain to get views over Cape Town while others will jump on a boat and head to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandella spent 18 of his 27 years in prison in a tiny cell.

Back home, it was interesting to see Ewen McKenzie announce he was quitting the Queensland Reds coaching job at the end of the Super Rugby season. It's largely thought that McKenzie, Brumbies coach Jake White and incumbent Robbie Deans are the three main contenders to be the Wallabies coach into the future. Deans' contract expires at the end of the year. White wants to return to international rugby, but his No1 focus is rebuilding the Brumbies. McKenzie has also been linked to the Ireland coaching job. White's name has also figured in speculation, but the Brumbies mentor told The Canberra Times he had not been contacted by anyone in Ireland. It's unlikely he would contemplate the job if it became available.


The view of Table Mountain  from my hotel room in Cape Town.
The view of Table Mountain from my hotel room in Cape Town. Photo: Chris Dutton
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Jenna Clarke
Canberra 100.
Canberra 100. 

The Centenary celebrations continue. Word on the social media street is that there is an official Centenary martini coming soon. 

The creator will reveal more details in April but so far we know there will be two versions - a Northside & a Southside which will have different garnishes but both will be made with Australian Vermouth.  


 Police investigate a ...

ACT Policing is seeking help in locating a white van that may have been involved in a possible attempted abduction at Banks on Monday morning.

Police said at about 7.30am, an eight-year-old girl was walking along Forsythe Street Banks towards a bus stop on Pockett Avenue when she saw a white van stopped on the opposite side of the road.

The male driver of the white van got out of the vehicle and approached the girl telling her to ‘get into my van’. The girl ran off to the bus stop where she met other persons, she was unharmed.

The male driver is described as dark skinned, about 5’2” (158cm), about 40 years old, skinny build, dark eyes, big ears and short black hair. He was wearing a black T-shirt, black long pants, black gloves and had a black cap.

The white van had a black bull-bar with NSW registration plates (possibly containing a number 2 and 6).

If you have seen in the area matching this description and may be able to assist police with the investigation, contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.


When the Legislative Assembly sits today, Canberra Liberal MLA, Giulia Jones will call for action to improve local shops throughout Canberra, calling the state of many local shops “unsatisfactory”.

You can read more here.

What do you think about the state of Canberra's shops? You can vote below or leave a comment.

From our correspondents in London overnight …

A dress worn by Diana, Princess of Wales, when she danced with John Travolta at a White House state dinner sold at auction overnight for $351,000 to an anonymous bidder who said he wanted to surprise his wife. The off-the-shoulder midnight blue velvet gown, designed by Victor Edelstein, captivated the public when the late princess was pictured wearing it as she was twirled around the dance floor by the Hollywood star during a visit to the US in 1985. It was the star lot in a sale of 10 of Diana’s dresses at vintage fashion auctioneers Kerry Taylor Auctions in London. 


Actor John Travolta dances with Princess Diana at a White House dinner in Washington in 1985.
Actor John Travolta dances with Princess Diana at a White House dinner in Washington in 1985. Photo: AP
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