ACT News

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Putting a strong foot forward

IT'S 41 weeks until the next ACT election but the campaigning has already started, with all the Labor candidates trotted out for the first policy announcement yesterday.

A keen-eyed Canberra Times photographer spotted Brindabella candidate Rebecca Cody has a tattoo on her foot. The cursive script reads ''Strength'' and the former public servant is going to need it to get through an ACT election campaign, although Chief Minister Katy Gallagher did say she hoped this election would be more positive.

Members inked up

THE pretty but permanent message got us wondering about tattoos on the current crop of MLAs. Of the 17 members, three admitted to having ink with one providing a ''no comment'' through his media adviser.

Surveys have shown about 10 per cent of Australians are tattooed while a 2009 Lifelounge survey found 70 per cent of people aged 16-30 are considering getting one in the next five years so it seems our MLAs are pretty spot on when it comes to representing tattoo prevalence in the community.

Ms Gallagher and her deputy Andrew Barr are both tattoo free as is the Minister for Young People Joy Burch and backbencher Mary Porter. Retiring MLA John Hargreaves's official response was ''not yet!'' and Attorney-General Simon Corbell said ''no comment''. The newest Member of the Legislative Assembly Chris Bourke initially choose to remain an unknown quality with a ''no comment'' provided by his office. The former dentist relented later in the day and said yes but refused to provide any more details.


None of the Liberal MLAs have tattoos, according to a spokeswoman in leader Zed Seselja's office.

The money (in an informal office poll) was on the Greens and the crossbench party did not disappoint. Leader Meredith Hunter and Caroline Le Couteur are tattoo free but Amanda Bresnan and Shane Rattenbury both have some meaningful body art. Ms Bresnan has an om Indian symbol which means completeness or wholeness on her left shoulder. While the speaker's tattoo is only visible when he's swimming laps. It's an ironman insignia.

''I got it after I completed in the the Hawaiian Ironman,'' he said. ''The Hawaiian Ironman is world championships - it's considered to be the toughest one-day race on the planet and for me it was a way of marking that significant personal achievement.''

His response begged the question - what hurt more, the race or the tattoo on his hip?

''[Both] are very painful, but the tattoo only took half an hour and the ironman took 10, so the pain lasts a lot less.''

Ethos turns 50

THE Ethos statue which stands in front of the Legislative Assembly is having its 50th birthday this week. It was the city's first piece of public art and was made by sculptor Tom Bass, who also created the sculpture over the entrance to the National Library.

Marguerite Castello, from the Chorus of Women, sent Today a photo from the 1960s when Canberra Day was celebrated with a float parade. The float showed off Ethos with Margo Hodge playing the title role.

The sculpture's 50th birthday celebrations will be held from 5.30pm on Thursday at the ACT Legislative Assembly reception room and around the sculpture in Civic Square.

That's a wrap

HELP is here for those of us challenged by wrapping Christmas presents. The Lions Club of Kambah is offering a gift wrapping service to shoppers at Tuggeranong Hyperdome.

For a gold coin donation, which helps fund community projects, the Lions will wrap presents ready to go straight under the Christmas tree. Busy people can drop off their orders and collect them later.

A spy tells us men have been using the service to wrap presents for mums, sisters and girlfriends. The more difficult wrapping requests have included medieval swords, carpets and basketballs.

The service is set up next to Santa Claus at the Hyperdome and will be available during opening hours until December 24.