High powered debate. Should there or should there not be a nuclear reactor at Lake Macquarie? There are of several coal-fired power stations on or near the lake. Mayor Greg Piper has distanced himself from the idea. Mind you, he is a rumoured independent candidate for the state seat of Swansea, now that the sitting MP Milton Orkopoulos is facing a spot of bother. Perhaps we should praise Ken Paxinos, the current Liberal candidate for Lake Macquarie for his frankness. “Chernobyl was a terrible disaster – but aeroplanes crash too and that doesn’t mean people stop flying,” he’s said.

Panthers on the prowl. Blue Mountains Liberal heavy Bart Bassett is famous for his idea to use a caged female black panther on heat to capture the famous Lithgow Panther. Actually, in his part of Sydney, the only big Panther is the local mega-Leagues Club which, bloated with poker machine revenue, ruthlessly undercuts small entertainment businesses in the district. (There’s more on the elusive Lithgow Panther at Strange Nation.)

Fringe dwellers. “Prominent Penrith Councillor and real estate agent Jim Aitken has been charged with assaulting a federal Labor Party candidate,” the Daily Telegraph reported yesterday. “The former Liberal candidate appeared in Penrith Local Court last Friday on a charge of assaulting the federal Labor candidate for Lindsay Mark Ptolemy… Mr. Ptolemy told police Aitken, 59, behaved aggressively towards him while he was handing out material for Penrith Labor member Karyn Paluzzano at the annual Glenbrook Fair cast November.” Indeed. Aitken has helped bankroll Jackie Kelly’s campaigns in Lindsay. And Crikey understands that he’s shown his support for the federal Libs by aggressively asserting his rights under the WorkChoices legislation – sparking a protest organised by NUW heavy Ptolemy. Local sources tell Crikey that Aitken has threatened to sic m’learned friends onto anyone with anything to do with the rally – and has described Ptolemy as “the devil”.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey