Calwell woman drove down wrong side of road in Queanbeyan chase: police

A woman who led police on a pursuit through Queanbeyan drove the wrong direction down Canberra Avenue before the chase ended, police say.

The 22-year-old, from Calwell, has been charged with driving offences after allegedly speeding on Lanyon Drive in the town’s west at 11am and then continuing despite police attempts to stop her.

Police said she accelerated to 155km/h after police detected her travelling at 110km/h in a 80km/h zone and tried to stop her. 

A short time later, the car allegedly struck a gutter, and went in the wrong direction along Canberra Avenue, where it came to a stop near the roundabout.

Police said as they approached, the vehicle rolled back and struck their car, causing only minor damage.

The driver was arrested and taken to Queanbeyan Police Station where she was charged with not stop police pursuit, dangerous driving, drive whilst disqualified, exceed speed, resist police in the execution of duty and registration offences.

She was granted bail and is due to appear at Queanbeyan Local Court on Monday January 8, 2018.

Canberra celebrates SSM survey result in the best way it knows how

Posted November 22, 2017 17:58:52

In the most Canberran way imaginable, the city has paid tribute to last week’s same-sex marriage postal survey vote with workers completing the city’s first rainbow roundabout.

The painted technicolour roundabout in Braddon was promised by ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr to honour the country’s wishes to allow same-sex marriage.

“I think Canberra, as the home of the roundabout, definitely needs a rainbow roundabout in the heart of the city,” he said at the time.

The roundabout was completed one week to the day many Canberrans partied in the same street, after the ACT recorded the highest Yes vote of any state and territory at 74 per cent.

That Wednesday night Canberra dropped its usual love for planning, as bars were rolled out onto Lonsdale Street for a spontaneous party.

But the painting of the roundabout was not without its hiccups. ACT Marriage Equality campaign director Jacob White managed to paint himself in and two missing bricks led to accusations of theft.

The ACT Government said the bricks were missing before painting began and they would be replaced.

Mr Barr, the first openly gay leader of any state or territory, said during the weekend’s Spring Out Pride Parade that the roundabout in Braddon was part of his plan to make Canberra “the most inclusive city in Australia”.

“This is about visibility,” he said.

“I think Canberra’s LGBTIQ community has hidden its light under a bushel a little in recent times.

“So we are going to see a more active and visible community participating, not in only LGBTIQ events, but also having a role in a range of mainstream Canberra events to demonstrate how much this community values inclusion and diversity.”

Topics: human-interest, states-and-territories, gays-and-lesbians, braddon-2612, canberra-2600, act

Mike Calford named new provost at Australian National University

A University of Tasmania leader who helped win it state and federal funding for a large-scale relocation project will become senior deputy to ANU’s vice-chancellor after beating other candidates in a global recruitment effort.

Mike Calford, who will become ANU’s new provost in March, was in the same role at UTAS when it secured money for a transformational $300 million campus relocation project at its Launceston and Burnie campuses.

He will be ANU’s new chief academic officer, leading delivery of its strategic plan when he leaves Tasmania for Canberra.

ANU vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt said he was grateful to have appointed Professor Calford.

“Mike brings remarkable depth and insight to his leadership, having managed most aspects of a university’s activities, from education and research to international and operational matters,” he said.

“At every level – as an educator, researcher, head of school, dean, and as a senior executive – Mike has demonstrated his strategic capacity, his collegiality, his determination, and his ability to deliver excellence.”

Professor Calford said he was delighted and honoured to join ANU as provost.

“ANU is one of the world’s great universities, with an ambitious and inspiring strategy to serve Australia as its national university,” he said.

A leading researcher in neuroscience, Professor Calford has been provost at UTAS since 2014 and was previously a deputy vice-chancellor at the University of Newcastle for five years and a pro vice-chancellor at the University of Wollongong.

His career has also involved teaching and research stints at University of Queensland and University of Melbourne, and at ANU.

He also worked overseas at the University of Oxford, the University of California Irvine and City University of New York.

SA pulls support for Murray-Darling Basin Plan changes, threatens royal commission

The Federal Government says it is “furious” at South Australia and accused it of playing “petty politics” following the State Government’s decision to challenge any changes to the $10 billion Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

SA Water Minister Ian Hunter announced on Tuesday his Government will not sign off on any changes to the plan “until integrity in its delivery can be assured”.

“We are at the end of our patience, we have been operating in good faith with the Federal Government, but it turns out we are the only ones doing it and enough is enough.”

The surprise announcement has angered the Federal Assistant Water and Agriculture Minister Anne Ruston, who said until now Mr Hunter had been negotiating with her on the reforms in good faith.

“I have been told so many times that the South Australian Labor Party will blow up this plan for its own political self-interest,” she said.

Mr Hunter has been calling for an independent judicial inquiry since allegations were made on the ABC’s Four Corners program in July that cotton farmers in New South Wales stole water from the Barwon-Darling.

Those calls have been ignored, and Mr Hunter said he is now also considering a state-based royal commission.

“It is always something we have had in our back pocket, but in reality we want a Federal Government-led judicial inquiry,” Mr Hunter said.

Dismay at water meeting cancellation

Tensions boiled over this week following the cancellation of a meeting of Commonwealth and basin state water ministers.

South Australia was also frustrated by an announcement earlier this month that the Commonwealth would reduce the amount of water it was taking from the northern basin by 70 gigalitres.

In retaliation, Mr Hunter said South Australia would not sign off on a package of infrastructure projects designed to use environmental water more efficiently, expected to save 605GL across the basin.

He said he wanted a commitment from the Commonwealth and all basin states that an additional 450GL of water would be set aside for the environment, on top of the plan’s original 2750GL target.

“Either you deliver on the whole plan, or we won’t deliver on the [605GL] down-water,” he said.

Senator Ruston has questioned the trustworthiness of the South Australian Government and accused it of trying to score political points ahead of the state election on March 17.

“I was furious to find out somebody who I’d been working with (Mr Hunter) to deliver the best outcome for South Australia, which is the delivery of this plan in full on time, has gone back on his word,” she said.

“Can I not trust anything that Minister Hunter or the South Australian Labor Party says anymore?

Water and agriculture split

The water ministers also squared-off on a move by the South Australian Parliament to call on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to split the Federal water and agriculture portfolio.

Last week, the state Labor Party and Liberal opposition supported a motion by the SA Greens that will see the entire State Parliament formally request Mr Turnbull to uncouple the two portfolios.

The water portfolio was merged with agriculture in 2015 as part of a revised Coalition agreement and at the request of National Party leader Barnaby Joyce.

“The disparate power between the agriculture department and the environment and water department is phenomenal,” Mr Hunter said.

“You see what Barnaby Joyce does at a pub in Shepperton, where he boasts to the crowd that he has taken water out the hands of the greenies and the Environment Department and put it back into agriculture.”

However, Senator Ruston would not be drawn on whether Mr Turnbull will split the portfolios.

“I’m not sure that the South Australian Greens in the Upper House are in a position to dictate to another government, especially the Federal Government, how you put your portfolios together.

Senator Ruston said she was not angry that her state counterparts, the SA Liberals, supported the Greens’ motion.

“I certainly can see an immense sense of frustration from the state Liberal team that they are being wedged on the wording on these motions,” she said.

“Obviously all politics is local and I will accept what they have said and done.”

Thieves steal paraplegic man’s Holden Commodore from Jacka home

Thieves have stolen a disabled man’s new car in what the victim thinks was a planned act. 

Zac Barrett, 21, has used a wheelchair since a motorcycle accident left him a paraplegic about three years ago.

He recently purchased the new blue Holden Commodore and was about to have it sent to Sydney to be modified with hand controls.

The thieves struck when he briefly left his Jacka home on Saturday morning to go to the shops. 

“I was back within 10 minutes and that’s all it took them to steal it,” he said. 

A key to the Mr Barrett’s car was locked in his friend’s car, which the thieves broke into.  

“They would have had to be watching me the whole time to know that,” he said. 

“They’re just low life scum, it shows you can’t really teach stupid.

“Watching a wheelchair user’s house to steal their car, really?”

As of Monday afternoon there were a few potential sightings of the car and Mr Barrett was hopeful he would be reunited with it.

“They’re definitely not the brightest,” he said. 

He said friends and social media users who have helped find the car all had the same reaction – “who steals from a disabled person?” 

ACT Policing said it was investigating the theft. 

Anyone with information should contact police on 131 444. 

Endangered smoky mice getting hot and steamy thanks to classic tactics

Updated November 20, 2017 18:23:33

For centuries, aspiring lovers have used flowers and exotic delicacies to woo their partners, and it seems the animal kingdom is no different.

Scientists have bolstered the numbers of one of the nation’s most critically endangered species, the smoky mouse, by decking out the breeding enclosures of six adult mice with flowers and food.

The old-fashioned dating techniques have seen six new litters of baby mice welcomed at Australia’s only smoky mouse captive breeding facility — spearheaded by the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH).

Breeding specialist Daniel Gowland said researchers played Cupid by creating the perfect breeding environment for the cute critters.

“Food is a stimulus for us all, it’s one of the first little integrations we do … and it’s one of the main things we had to work on,” he said.

“We need to give flowers once or twice a week and that way they can take what they want — their body can give them the cue: ‘I need to eat a little bit of this’.”

But the process behind the procreation is slightly less romantic than flowers and delicacies.

The breeding facility places the male mouse in one enclosure, and the female in another. The two enclosures are connected to a third enclosure, and the mice are able to move between the rooms through small pipes.

The animals typically spend about two weeks in their own room, before deciding to take the bold step of venturing into the neutral territory.

“Straight away, we can see the girl’s gone ‘Oh, I like you’ and dragged the little boy into her room and the boy’s moved straight in,” Mr Gowland said.

“It will take a couple of weeks still, what they tend to do is set up their own little house, but right when they’re about to give birth they set up a birthing suite in that common ground.”

Spicing things up with newcomers

But the researchers found in some cases, the mice needed some extra assistance.

“We weren’t getting breeding out of a pair that was obviously bonded, there was a lot of cuddling, a lot of grooming together, but no breeding activity,” Mr Gowland said.

“I found a male … he was very much in season, and it stimulated the other pair to make babies.

“The male’s glands become quite swollen and they’ll have a, depending on your taste, a nice sweet and musky smell about them, and just bringing another male into the area will help stimulate a lot of the other pairs to breed.”

Population numbers of the smoky mouse in the wild have dropped to critically low levels, with fewer than 1,000 in Australia.

Because the mice are typically very naive and trusting, they easily fall prey to feral cats and foxes, making them vulnerable to extinction.

But the threatened species team leader from the NSW OEH, Damon Oliver, said the breeding program could help save this “uniquely Australian rodent”.

“It does play an important role in what we call ecosystem function or engineering,” he said.

“Part of its diet is native fungus, which lives under the ground, so it plays a role in turning the soil over which actually helps the viability of the vegetation it lives in.”

Dr Oliver said scientists ultimately hoped to boost the number of smoky mice by introducing those bred in the facility into the wild.

Topics: animal-behaviour, animals, endangered-and-protected-species, canberra-2600, australia

First posted November 20, 2017 14:55:38

England gets some consolation with Twenty20 Ashes win in Canberra

This service may include material from Agence France-Presse (AFP), APTN, Reuters, AAP, CNN and the BBC World Service which is copyright and cannot be reproduced.

AEDT = Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time which is 11 hours ahead of UTC (Greenwich Mean Time)

Police seek information relating to critical incident to the death of Anthony Caristo

Almost three weeks after the death of Anthony Caristo, who died after being Tasered by police at his Waramanga home, ACT Police are seeking information into the weeks before the incident.

Mr Caristo died during a critical incident on November 1, when police found him covered in blood and holding a large knife. At the time, police said his finger had been severed and arms cut. When he struck his leg with the knife, officers Tasered him once to prevent him harming himself further, police said.

After being subdued and handcuffed, Mr Caristo was found to be unresponsive and could not be revived.

The criminal investigations and AFP professional standards units who are investigating the critical incident are reviewing the last few weeks of Mr Caristo’s life. They believe Mr Caristo had recently sold items on Gumtree.

Police are urging anyone who had contact with Mr Caristo in the weeks leading up to his death to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

At the time of the incident, Mr Caristo’s daughter said she was still numb with disbelief.

“Despite having our ups and downs in our relationship, he was my dad,” she said.

“He was a smart man with a big heart and I’ll never forget the crazy things we used to do on our weekends together when I was younger.”

Spring Out Pride Parade bathes gloomy Canberra in sea of technicolour

Updated November 18, 2017 16:02:38

Canberra’s annual Spring Out Pride Parade has lit up Civic in rainbow colours on an otherwise wet and rainy day.

A large crowd of Canberrans, mostly belonging to LGBTIQ advocacy groups, marched through the streets of Civic for one of the major events of the annual Spring Out festival.

Cars beeped and passers by cheered and waved flags in support as the group made its way through Garema Place and down Bunda Street to Glebe Park.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr, the first openly gay leader of any state or territory, led the parade with his partner Anthony Toms.

The Pride Parade comes just days after Australia voted to allow same-sex couples to marry and Canberra returned the highest Yes vote of any jurisdiction.

But the march was not just in celebration — Mr Barr reminded the crowd that the campaign for gay rights was not yet over.

“We’ve fought so long and so hard to achieve this basic equality and it has consumed so much of our community’s attention and the public’s and media’s attention,” he said.

“But there’s still so much to be done to achieve full inclusion and equality for all LGBTIQ people — not just here in Canberra but around the nation and around the world.”

Mr Barr said a major step was to make the LGBTIQ community more visible and included in Canberra.

He said part of that was giving Braddon a rainbow makeover.

On Wednesday, Mr Barr announced a technicolour roundabout would be installed in Braddon and thousands of people partied in Londsdale Street into the night after the result of the postal survey was announced.

“It’s not just that gay and lesbian people can only have one or two venues that they can feel comfortable socialising in,” Mr Barr said.

“What we are seeing on Lonsdale Street is quite an inclusive strip there where there a range of bars, restaurants and venues that are really popular right across the board.

“With the rainbow roundabout going in there I suspect we’ll see a lot more activity for LGBTIQ people in that region.”

Topics: gays-and-lesbians, states-and-territories, federal—state-issues, canberra-2600, act

First posted November 18, 2017 15:19:44

Women’s Ashes: Ellyse Perry talks Canberra, cricket and coffee after double ton

Ellyse Perry still gets nostalgic most times she comes back to Canberra.

It might be something as simple as driving past the Italian restaurant in Kingston where she had her first date with former ACT Brumbies player and now husband Matt Toomua.

The Australian sporting golden girl can add another moment to her capital memories as she chases a perfect finish to the women’s Ashes at Manuka Oval on Sunday and Tuesday.

It would be a sweet reward after scoring an historic unbeaten 213 in the Ashes Test in Sydney last weekend.

Perry’s mind is focused only on beating England in the final matches of the multi-format tournament.

But relaxing with a coffee at one of two Canberra cafes where she is a part owner, Perry allows herself to reflect on how the city and a long black changed her life.

“I never used to drink coffee, but I loved cafes. Somewhere along the line, Matt said if I started drinking coffee he would propose to me. So I weaned myself on to it,” Perry laughed.

“It was a joke, but he actually said it. I’m pretty sure I started drinking piccolos well in advance of that.”

The rest is history. Perry and Toomua got married two years ago, fittingly just hours after Perry hit the winning runs for the Sydney Sixers in a Women’s Big Bash League match.

Their relationship started when they were playing for Canberra United and the Brumbies and they are now part-owners of cafes Two Before Ten at Aranda and Nomad at the University of Canberra.

Perry will return to the capital for the last two Twenty20 matches of the women’s Ashes campaign. Cricket ACT are hoping Perry and $10 tickets help attract bumper crowds for the Manuka Oval fixtures.

Perry, 27, is already one of Australia’s greatest female athletes. Her double century last weekend was the third highest score in women’s cricket history but her humble and polite nature is what endears her to a nation.

Female athletes are finally getting more opportunities to pursue their sporting dreams.

Perry has been living her dream since she was a teenager, becoming the youngest player in Australian women’s cricket history and a dual international when she made her Australian Matildas soccer debut.

But she also needed balance in her life. So cafe hopping developed from an on-tour hobby to a business avenue with Toomua, who fancies himself as a barrista.

“It’s always been a bit of a pipe dream I guess [to own a cafe]. We love being able to learn a lot about it as well. Canberra seemed a lot more logical for us than Sydney so this is how it ended up,” Perry said.

“We share the [coffee-making] duties at home. It’s kind of whoever gets to it first in the morning gets to make the coffees … it’s a bit of a competition and he’s probably got better latte art than me at the moment.

“I’m still stuck on the hearts, he’s got the tulips and the rosetta as well. He gets a bit more practice though.”

The challenge for Toomua and Perry is aligning their sporting lives. Toomua left the Brumbies at the end of last year to link with the Leicester Tigers and will be based in England until at least 2020.

Perry is at the peak of her cricket powers as one of the world’s leading all-rounders.

But a commitment to make up for lost time when they retire helps fuel the fire when their colliding careers force them to spend months apart on opposite sides of the world.

“It’s been a good experience for us both professionally and it’s good to see Matt get that over there at Leicester,” Perry said.

“When we get to spend time together, it’s wonderful. We spend more concentrated periods together now … we both just want to make the most of these opportunities while we have our sporting careers.

“Hopefully we make up for any lost time in the future. There’s a lot of Facetime and dodgy internet connections … It’s amazing how quickly it’s gone. And I still get nostalgic coming here.”


November 19: First Twenty20 – Australia v England at Manuka Oval, 2.35pm. Tickets from Ticketek.

November 21: First Twenty20 – Australia v England at Manuka Oval, 7.10pm. Tickets from Ticketek.