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Ceberano, not just a pretty face

It is a beautiful face. And one Australians have known for close to 30 years.

Singer Kate Ceberano has been selected as the face of the National Multicultural Festival which will be held in the heart of Canberra from February 8 to 10. She will perform in the opening concert on the evening of February 8 and then help launch the festival the next day.

''I'm really very proud to be part of it,'' she said.

Ceberano spoke to us on Friday as she was enjoying a break in the United States, happily watching ''mindless television'' - ''I've got this Project Runway kind of obsession'' - but actually keeping herself busy writing her autobiography and putting the finishing touches on her latest album of original songs.

It'll be called Kensal Road, after Kensal Studios in London where it was recorded. The autobiography is due to be delivered by the end of next month, and there are a lot of adventures to tell.

''Because it's been a bloody long career as it turns out,'' she said, with her earthy laugh.


The 46-year-old singer was born in Melbourne. Her exotic looks are thanks to a father born in Hawaii to Filipino parents and a mother who has Swedish heritage on her side. She only discovered her Swedish roots after appearing on the SBS television show Who Do You Think You Are?

''So I think I qualify as multicultural. I don't think you could get a more diverse mix,'' she said.

Ceberano says she grew up surrounded by migrant families in Melbourne and, while name-calling was common, she believes her father's generation bore the real brunt of racism.

''I'm not going to say we're a perfect culture because there will always be that small percentage of ignorant and discriminative people, that seems to be in every culture,'' she said. ''But I think as a general rule Australians are a very fine multicultural community now.''

Ceberano has endured in the Australian industry through not only her singing but her television appearances, and most recently a part in the successful musical South Pacific. She and her husband, Lee Rogers, also have a nine-year-old daughter, Gypsy. And she is also the artistic director for the Adelaide Cabaret Festival.

''It's kind of like a lifestyle, that hectic pace. Anything less makes me nervous,'' she said.

Her wish is to one day front a music show that promotes ''music without discrimination, music without ageism'' where viewers are exposed to a range of performers and genres.

''Sort of like the old Countdown. It didn't just speak to the 12 to 18-year-olds. It'd go from Boy George to Kate Bush to Sting. I think Australia could do with a really cool music program.''

Compendium of world cricket on show at Manuka for PM

Cricketing great Keith Stackpole will be at Manuka Oval for the Prime Minister's XI match on Tuesday.

He will be speaking at one of the official events on the ground as the PM's XI takes on the West Indies in the first one-day match played under lights at Manuka Oval.

Also there will be former NSW bowler Wayne Holdsworth and former Australian fast bowler Geoff Lawson.

Former New Zealand cricketer turned Canberran Chris Cairns will be commentating for Fox Sports. And one wag from Cricket ACT reminded Manuka coffee drinkers that they had better duck because Chris Gayle would be back in town, with the West Indies.

Gayle scored the joint Man of the Match award at the 2010 Prime Minister's XI when he hit 146 off 89 balls, including smashing eight sixes.

Spectators at next week's match are also being encouraged to wear blue and white in support of Menslink, the support network for young men.

First Bloke Tim Mathieson chose Menslink to be the charity of choice for the event. Menslink volunteers will be handing out 5000 free thundersticks to make plenty of noise for the players, including retiring captain Ricky Ponting.

They'll also be collecting donations to support the free counselling and mentoring the service provides young men and their families in Canberra.

The match on Tuesday starts at 2.20pm. Tickets are available through Ticketek.

Bagging plastic smugglers

With the ACT's ban on some plastic bags in the news, we were tickled by this exchange between a Canberran who was stopped for a random breath test in Queanbeyan this week.

Policewoman: ''Can I ask the purpose of your visit to Queanbeyan tonight?''

Informant: ''I'm going to a book launch.''

Policewoman: ''So you're not attempting to smuggle plastic bags back across the border?''

Informant: Stunned silence followed by laughter. (Once I realised it was definitely a joke.)

Policewoman to male colleague: ''See, she thinks I'm funny.''

''It was a really funny moment. I was smiling for the rest of the drive,'' our informant said.

Grim reminder

Former speaker of the ACT Legislative Assembly Greg Cornwell has just returned home to Canberra from what sounded like an exciting overseas jaunt. And he brought back with him a serious message.

In Grenada, the West Indies (on a cruise en route to Manaus in the Amazon) he spied this ''grim but timely reminder for those returning from holidays'': Undertakers Love Overtakers.

Shoe walks out door

Australia Day marks the one-year anniversary of The Lobby affair.

Or as we prefer to know it, The Great Political Wedge of 2012. Time has flown since Prime Minister Julia Gillard lost her blue Midas wedge as she was whisked from the now-infamous protest at The Lobby restaurant.

Midas reworked the shoe and added a Mary Jane-style strap to make it mob-proof. Midas marketing manager Greg Parmenter happily told us on Friday that 300 pairs of the reworked wedge had been sold at $148 a pop.

What's on

  • The Bungendore Show is on Sunday from 9am to 4pm at the showground three kilometres west of the town on Mathews Lane, off Bungendore Road. Adult admission is $15, free entry for under-15s. Don't miss the Flat Chat Dog Race about 2pm.