Archive for September, 2007

Tommy’s adventures in APEC-land

September 6th, 2007 3 comments

Good old APEC – there’s nothing like a security lockdown on a city of 4 million to inconvenience and annoy its denizens. One wonders whether some Labor mole is whispering in the ears of the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet to build more fences, disrupt more services, and enforce more psychotically draconian laws.

I saw The Wall the other day going to an interview. Basically every street block within shouting distance of Circular Quay and Macquarie Street is surrounded by a 3 metre tall concrete-and-barbed-wire fence, except for a tiny door for pedestrian access – one on each block, so you have to walk all the way around the block if you want to cross the street. Is it a desperate attempt by the NSW government to boost the state GDP? A contract for some minister’s nephew with a struggling steel products factory? Some deprived soul down at the RTA who really hates rounded street corners? I guess we’ll never know.

On the way from law school to uni today, I was stuck on a bus in the city for half an hour. The bus was stopped at an intersection by a cop on a motorbike. Now, anyone who knows anything about me knows that I am happy to be stuck on public transport for hours at a time for any worthy purpose – be it a duck that needs to cross the street or CityRail tracks that melt in the rain. So I would be happy, nay, honoured, to be stopped to allow the motorcade of a world leader such as the founder of computer maker Acer (official representative of Taiwan, apparently) to pass.

But no. We were stuck there for half an hour, because a bunch of Falun Gong loonies needed to march down to Belmore Park, marching band and all, and proclaim that the Chinese Communist Party eat Falun Gongers alive. If there is one protest I wish the police would use their new-found powers to stop, this has got to be it. Their claims are insane, but what is more insane is that Australians appear to be so readily willing to believe them. Transplanted to any other context (say, Russia), claims of a huge government live organ harvest scheme would be consigned to the dusty conspiracy theories corner of the used book store, or maybe the lunatic asylum.

The Chaser have been arrested and charged for driving a fake motorcade into the APEC security zone (using these security passes). The NSW police are declaring this a victory – they managed to detect the problem when the cars stopped and one member dressed up as Osama bin Laden got out of the car, after the motorcade had gotten through just two check points. Judging by this stellar performance, the strongest arguments for Australia’s withdrawal from Iraq should surely be that we are endangering the lives of coalition soldiers – if they will let Osama bin Laden through two check points, imagine who they’re letting through to coalition bases in Iraq!

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