Political vanity and the purpose of the G20 193



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Maybe I’m ungrateful but with all the disruption in Brisbane at the moment I can’t help but stop and wonder who this G20 is for and why we want it so much in our country? To me it looks like an event that spends a whole lot of public money, over $500M, on an even larger amount of political vanity. Is that an appropriate use of our dollars when our budget is under so much pressure that pensions need to be cut?

Local politicians are revelling in their opportunity to puff out their political chests and strut like peacocks around our TV screens shaking hands with global icons, just months before election season starts.

But what does this do for us – the real people of Brisbane, and the citizens of taxpaying Australia? I am just not sure that one to two weeks of a major city being rather well-um – closed to anyone that doesn’t arrive in a limo with an entourage, or wear a press pass, is going to give back.

For those who aren’t aware, many of the businesses in Brisbane City are in fact closed next week for much of the period, with access to the city severely restricted, and there will be a public holiday which employers are forced to pay for in addition to the standard annual holidays. For employees, there is a significant work from home period next week, and an extra public holiday! The government is over-regulating the period for the sake of safety, but then asking Brisbanites to stay around and visit the city centre on their weekend so our city “looks busy”.

I know I know, it is meant to “put Brisbane and Australia on the global map if important cities”. Campbell Newman, Brisbane’s media maid of a Mayor has unabashedly said he is excited about Obama speaking in Brisbane next week, as he will then one day hear the words… “In Obama’s Brisbane Speech” in the media… But is this not just political vanity?

With thousands and thousands of media travelling here the G20 is supposed to deliver a lust for tourists to travel here for years to come. Will it really be able to do this? Maybe some journos will fall in love with Australia and tell our story. Or perhaps they’ll just tell about a political event hosted, that allowed one city to enjoy a small two week surge in hotel occupancy at an enormous cost to the public purse?

I mean do you even remember where the last G20 was held? I don’t, and I am quite politically aware.

We know it is giving the media some exciting new angles – not! The Global Café is coming, all set to entertain the journos where politicians might bore them. But will it help?

Yesterday morning I saw many had dug out the good old one about Tony Abbott wanting to “shirtfront” Putin on arrival, never mind that they will see each other in days before at the Asia Pacific Forum making this a real non-story.

And so I ask you if you are as cynical as me about the G20… or do you think I am wrong?

Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. It gives an opportunity for large and small business organisations to expand (export) their products to the major financially stable countries and increase foreign exchange.

    4 REPLY
    • You really think so? NO ONE gives a damm about small business unless it is voting time – and even then it is just lip-service. When is the last time ANY small business got something from a government – apart from more taxes and red tape?

    • Andrew, what do you expect the Govt. to give you ? Is the fact that Australia is a peaceful democracy, a stable country, financially, and otherwise, allowing free speech and free travel not worthwhile to be happy about ? The country allows you to operate a business, gives you an education, health care, services, tries to improve international relationships, opens op for free trade, and all you see is taxes and red tape ? Remember what JFK said ?

  2. Yes, I think that you are wrong. The world needs to have these meetings. It is vital that we have an exchange of ideas and discussions about where we are, where we can improve, and where we want to be. Greater economic co-operation is the way forward.

    9 REPLY
    • we cant just sit here in Australia and ignore the rest of the world its 2014 NOT 1914 ..we may not like it but the world is just one big trading bloc now …

    • to help who Berndt not us its all corrupt ideas do as you are told, the world has not improved for the best at all

    • What about the big companies channeling their profits to Switzerland to avoid paying their fair share of tax? And our soldiers are asked to take a pay cut. Shameful!!!

    • Well, actually, Elsa, one thing that is being discussed on these international meetings is how to stop multinationals taking advantage of transfer pricing.

    • They are spending millions on this while screaming our budget is in crisis…. Oh that’s right they are getting their millions by cutting the health and education funding, cutting low income funding …all of it… And not to forget pay cuts to our soldiers.
      Yep we really need this G20!

  3. If our government was prepared to listen and learn, I think it would be worth it (of course I am not in Brisbane) but it seems to me it is possibly being used for murdoch to peddle his disruptive ‘ideals’! And of course our grandstanding PM who keeps wanting to challenge Putin. It should be used for dialogue and cooperation.

  4. I can’t see why this cannot be done via teleconference. The cost is nearly 1/2 billion dollars. Money that could be well spent on things like health and education. Abbott says we have no money but is happy to spend on thibgs like this.
    Our troops get a pay decrease and they have to protect these international politicans who are getting the money that could have gone to them.

  5. Waste of time waste of money waste of energy waste of thought. Get on with housing the homeless improving education, bring back basics. We need our lives to be more like south Vietnam…. Basic organic and closed to dirty political immigrant hoards

  6. I can’t believe you wouldn’t want to showcase this beautiful city and country…. We can’t shut ourselves away forever. I am afraid we need to move forward folks…. Am sick of hearing we need to go back to the basics.. What were the basics 20 years ago are not the basics today.

  7. The G20 was lobbied for and locked in by the former government . The money being spent on it is appalling, I hope some good decisions come out of it, at least $500,000,000 worth. So many people are struggling with the financial cuts, others are dying for the want of expensive drugs or operations and yet money has been found for this.

  8. It is for the 1%ers to get together and have a quiet chat behind the scenes to discuss how to screw the masses. On the face of it is all the bullshit rhetoric that they palm out to the media to feed to us. The owners of the media are part of the 1% so don’t ever think you are going to get the truth from them. Now they even want to GOAL whistleblowers – the people who screw up the plans of these bastards.

    3 REPLY
    • If all these Nations decided to spend less on war and more on peace we could wipe out poverty. It is estimated spending as little as 10% of the money spent on war on assisting the poor than poverty would be history.

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