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ACT News

Canberra Mornings Live: Wednesday March 20


Staff Reporters

For all the latest Canberra news, including weather, traffic updates and what the capital is talking about on Wednesday March 20.

Weatherzone: ACT storm tracker

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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.

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

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?

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

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.

An update from our man running with the Brumbies in South Africa, Chris Dutton:  

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

Canberra 100.

Canberra 100.

Jenna Clarke: 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.  


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.

Poll: Do our local shops need fixing?

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Yes. Many are in a disgraceful condition.


No. They're fine.


It's a 'case-by-case' thing. Some do, some don't.


Don't we have more important things to worry about?


Total votes: 208.

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Poll closed 22 Mar, 2013


These polls are not scientific and reflect the opinion only of visitors who have chosen to participate.

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

Canberra Times front page, March 20.

Canberra Times front page, March 20.

Today's front page stories.

Gillard moves to salvage reforms...

Julia Gillard has been forced to step in to try to save her party's ailing media reforms as former leader Simon Crean openly criticised her handling of the matter

A dream job, one you learn the ropes...

With paint rollers in hand, Andrew Bull and Michael Budge took on the challenging work of painting the new Manuka Oval light towers on a perfect autumn day.

Bills still unpaid one year after wrecking ball...

Nearly one year after Australian National University students caused more than $8000 damage to a restaurant during a drunken college ball, the owner of the Deck at Regatta Point is still waiting for repayment.

ACTEW understates CEO's salaray...

Canberra's water utility has admitted under-reporting the wages of its chief executive by nearly a quarter of a million dollars.


Police are currently waiting on post-mortem and forensic results, following the suspicious death of a 42-year-old woman found in her Kambah home on Monday morning.

The woman's body was found in the front room of her home on Broad Place by a relative, who called emergency services.

Detective Sergeant Stephen Ladd said the woman's death was being treated as suspicious "due to the unknown nature surrounding her death".

We'll bring you more on this as it comes to hand.

Timomatic, on
stage in Canberra on January 25th this year.

Timomatic, on stage in Canberra on January 25th this year. Photo: Graham Tidy

Some exciting news for the capital was announced overnight.

Canberra’s Timomatic will be the third judge on TV Series Australia’s Got Talent.

The young Australian singer-songwriter, dancer and graduate of Narrabundah College will join Mel B and Dawn French on the four-person panel, with the final judge expected to be announced today. 

Timomatic was nominated for Song of the Year at the 2012 ARIA awards for his quadruple platinum debut single Set It Off.

For the next generation of Canberra talent, Australia’s Got Talent auditions are coming to the ACT on April 16 at Rydges Lakeside. 

Grant Newton: Around town tonight …

Communications minister Stephen Conroy will address the Asthma Foundation gala dinner - hosted by ACT Asthma Foundation president Kevin Gill - at the National Press Club

Medicines Australia will hold its annual dinner in the Great Hall at Parliament House.

The Australian Achievement in Architecture Awards will be held at the National Arboretum from 6.30pm.

No traffic incidents to report so far this morning. Let us know here or tweet #CanberraMornings if you get stuck.


Today's Canberra Times cartoon from David Pope.

Editorial Cartoon 24.10.14 Click for more photos

David Pope

Editorial Cartoon 24.10.14 Photo: David Pope

Nathan Crosswell will play his 350th (and last) game this weekend.

Nathan Crosswell will play his 350th (and last) game this weekend. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

Grant Newton: A quick hit of sport …

Canberra Raiders and Queensland rugby league legend Mal Meninga is joining Papua New Guinea’s coaching staff in a major boost to their preparations for this year’s World Cup.

Adelaide 36ers co-captain Nathan Crosswell says he will play his 350th and final NBL game this weekend. Crosswell began his NBL career in 1999 at the age of 20.

Belgian rider Gianni Meersman has retained the overall lead in the Tour of Catalonia after making it two stage wins in as many days. The 27-year-old beat home Italian Daniele Ratto and Australian Brett Lancaster in a sprint finish to the 160.7km ride from Girona to Banyuls.


Chris Dutton, reporting from South Africa: The Brumbies trained on Tuesday for the first time since beating the Sharks in Durban last weekend.

Still plenty of sore bodies as they prepare to take on the Cape Town Stormers.

The biggest concern centres around scrum half Nic White. He didn't join his teammates on the field and it's 50-50 whether he'll play.

The club's third scrum half, Mark Swanepoel, has flown to South Africa in case White can't play.

That's all from from Cape Town for now.


Brumbies training in South Africa on Tuesday.

Brumbies training in South Africa on Tuesday. Photo: Chris Dutton

Grant Newton: Making news around the nation this morning …

Swimming Australia will reportedly announce the departure of head coach Leigh Nugent as early as today following the disastrous London Olympics campaign.

Federal Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce has confirmed he would consider contesting the northern New South Wales seat of New England, after Independent Richard Torbay was mysteriously dumped as a candidate.

Mothers may be able to protect their babies from whooping cough by getting vaccinated before giving birth - or even before they get pregnant, research shows.


Swimming Australia head coach Leigh Nugent.

Swimming Australia head coach Leigh Nugent. Photo: Rohan Thomson

Pope Francis at his Inauguration Mass in St Peter's Square.

Pope Francis at his Inauguration Mass in St Peter's Square. Photo: Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Grant Newton:  

Around the world in 80 words …

Pope Francis was installed as leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics at his inauguration Mass at St Peter's Basilica. Cyprus lawmakers have rejected a bank tax bill that would have slugged account holders to raise money for Eurozone bailout. Up to 60 people have been killed and scores injured in a series of car and suicide bombings in and around Iraq's capital, Baghdad.  Seven US military personnel have been killed in a training exercise in Nevada.


Grant Newton: It’s 8 degrees in the capital right now heading for a top today of 25. It will be partly cloudy with light winds picking up to 20 km/h tonight.

There’s a five per cent chance of rain, according to the Bureau and the fire danger is high.

Tomorrow we can expect isolated showers in the afternoon and evening. Friday’s a similar story but the weekend is looking fine. 


Tegan Osborne: Good morning Canberra. Hope you're doing well on this fine Wednesday morning.

Welcome to our live news blog - during the morning we'll bring you the latest news from around Canberra, including weather and traffic updates.

Coming up very shortly we'll have a weather wrap for you. Our intrepid sports reporter Chris Dutton will also have the latest from Brumbies' camp in Cape Town, South Africa as the team prepare to take on the Cape Town Stormers this weekend.

Feel free to join the conversation by leaving your comments below. 

Or via Twitter at @canberratimes, by adding a #CanberraMornings hashtag to your tweets.

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