PSst! Snap lockdown and the mystery man

By The Mandarin

Friday August 13, 2021

It's a ghost town at Parliament House.
It’s a ghost town at Parliament House. (


Praying partygoer

Canberra was thrust into a frenzy yesterday with a snap lockdown sparked by the ACT’s first detected COVID case in more than a year.

The lockdown began at 5pm and by then three close contacts of the initial case had also returned positive test results to the virus.

While panic buying set in across the community, there was also a lot of talk about the movements of the man in his 20s who started the whole thing.

According to the exposure sites released by the ACT government, the young man was at a city nightclub until 4.45 Sunday morning but still managed to get to his pentescostal church at 10.30am for a two-and-a-half-hour prayer session. Then it was a bit (a lot) of shopping before ending the day with an evening drinking session in a city bar.

Much of the chatter went to the man’s lifestyle and whether he was leading some sort of double life. Was he conflicted? Clubbing all night then praying the morning away. Did he feel the need to repent, but then by Sunday night need another drink or seven?

Well no. Not exactly.

This largely anonymous young fella was being described around Canberra as either a villain or some kind of legend with a go-hard, go-long attitude.

But he wasn’t out partying at the club until the sun was almost up. He was at work. The man is a nightclub bouncer and that’s why he was there all night.

And for all anyone knows, perhaps the only reason he was at church later that morning was to guard the door and keep the riff-raff out of there too.

Best thing to do

Still on the ACT’s lockdown, and it must be noted that the chief minister did an outstanding job alerting the community to the COVID detection and the rules of containment.

While fierce debate rages daily over how Gladys or Annastacia or Dan are steering their respective states through the pandemic — and their press conferences are getting continuously combative and heated —  Andrew Barr in Canberra presented a figure of assuring composure. 

Sure, Canberra hasn’t had to deal with repeated massive outbreaks over lengthy periods of time (that would wear any government down), but it was refreshing to see a leader speaking calmly and providing comprehensive vital information to the community.

And despite Barnaby Joyce’s best efforts, the bulk of the APS is still part of the Canberra community. So in this public service town, a sharp and fast response to a COVID outbreak has been welcomed as the right thing to do.  

Ghost town and a shadow man

Still in Canberra, and the nation’s parliament house has finished two weeks of sitting in what can only be described as a ghost town. Business continues but numbers inside the chambers are limited, with some contributions being made remotely. Car parks are mostly empty, as are staff offices. Public galleries closed, eateries are all but shut down, and the corridors of power are empty and silent.

Perhaps that’s why the outgoing Member for Dawson George Christensen thinks it’s okay to not wear a mask around others. That’s probably not why — he has his own deluded reasons — but he got a good telling off last week for ordering food without wearing a mask.

This week, even the prime minister cut him loose when Labor sought permission to suspend debate to instead condemn Christensen for his parliamentary rant about COVID controls and rules all being useless.

The government rarely allows an opposition to use precious parliamentary time purely to condemn one of its own. But the motion was allowed. And while Anthony Albanese attempted to link the whole government to Christensen’s dangerous comments, the prime minister subsequently got to his feet and (in his own way) condemned the misinformation himself.

All the while, Christensen looked on with a smirk on his face. 

Advisable to take the advice

In NSW, there has been a lot of talk about chief health officer Kerry Chant’s frustration over her advice not being fully embraced by the Berejiklian state government. The fact that NSW took so long to go into a proper lockdown was, apparently, against the advice of the top doc.

There is a very strong rumour going around that Chant, fed up with the government choosing business interests over science and health interests, even offered to tender her resignation if her advice was not valued. Please don’t go Dr Chant. The state really, really needs you.


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