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

Updated November 22, 2017 18:57:02

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

First posted November 22, 2017 17:58:52

Live: Aussies desperate to finish Women’s Ashes with T20 win

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Endangered smoky mice getting hot and steamy thanks to classic tactics

Updated November 20, 2017 18:31:20

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

Updated November 19, 2017 18:39:11

Australia’s batting line-up crumbled in pursuit of a modest target to lose the second women’s Ashes Twenty20 clash to England by 40 runs in Canberra on Sunday.

After retaining the Ashes two days ago with a comprehensive Twenty20 victory in Sydney, only opener Alyssa Healy passed 20 as Australia were bowled out for 112 in pursuit of 153 to win at Manuka Oval.

The home side got off to a bright start to 0-45 in the sixth over, but after Beth Mooney was was run out by a Jenny Gunn direct hit from mid-off, Australia lost 10-67 in a dismal collapse over the next 12.3 overs.

The result sees England reduce the multi-format series’ deficit to 8-6 with one match T20 match remaining.

Healy (24) and Mooney (17) hit seven boundaries between them but the latter was unable to repeat her heroics from the first game when she hit an unbeaten 86.

A brilliant stumping by England wicketkeeper Sarah Taylor off fast bowler Katherine Brunt in the following over removed number three Elyse Villani, who was caught short attempting a pull shot.

Healy holed out at long-on off Gunn for Australia to sit 3-49 in the eighth over, with things deteriorating when Ellyse Perry played on a Brunt (2-10) short ball the next over for the loss of 4-7.

Middle-order players Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes and Delissa Kimmince all failed as Gunn (4-13) cleaned up the tail.

England won the toss, with Australia starting poorly in the field when Gardner fumbled a Danielle Wyatt skied shot toward the boundary, gathering but carrying the ball over the over the rope for four runs in the first over.

Opener Wyatt was dismissed for 19 when she hit fast bowler Megan Schutt (2-16) straight to Haynes at cover.

Spinner Jess Jonassen (1-18) removed Tammy Beaumont lbw in the seventh over when the English opener missed an attempted sweep shot from a straight ball.

Number three Taylor took Kimmince for back-to-back boundaries in the 11th over, but the medium-pacer had her revenge when she threw down the stumps from point to run her out at the non-striker’s end for Australia’s third wicket.

Natalie Sciver showed good touch in compiling 40 from 31 before skying a Perry slower ball to Haynes.

Brunt (32 off 24 balls) hit medium-pacer Kimmince for a six over long-on to end the 18th over, and also cleared the boundary off Sarah Aley six balls later as England edged toward 150.

Schutt took her 18th wicket of the Ashes by bowling Fran Wilson in restricting England to four runs in the final over.

The final match of the series will be played in Canberra on Tuesday.


Topics: cricket, sport, canberra-2600, act, australia

First posted November 19, 2017 17:57:32

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