As the world’s decision makers descend upon Brisbane, it’s easy to get caught up by the naysayers, the conspirators and Obama’s whereabouts. Are the security measures excessive? Does Obama really need to strip an entire floor of the Marriot hotel? Will Tony Abbott ‘shirtfront’ Vladimir Putin?
Regardless of your views, or whether it’s appropriate for the Courier Mail to call people exercising their right to protest ‘ferals’ or not, the armed forces are here and they've got snipers and sonic cannons so try not to do anything intentionally or un-intentionally disruptive.
This includes the following:
Items banned within the ‘security areas’ from Bowen Hills to South Brisbane, and extending west to Lang Park and east to Kangaroo Point.
- Obvious stuff: All weapons including knives, explosives, fire arms, replica or antique firearms, slingshots, swords, blowpipes, handcuffs, bows and arrows.
- All ‘non-weapons’, described as anything that could potentially hurt someone. (Erm, pretty sure my house keys could really mess you up if used inappropriately.)
- Projectiles: Eggs. Tin cans. Glass jars – this unfortunately includes green juices or salads in jam jars. Watch out, hipsters!
- Placards or banners larger than 100cm high by 200cm wide.
- Dangerous animals
- Loud noises. For example, a horn or anything that would upset a dog or horse, or disrupt a meeting.
- Camouflage paint or balaclavas
- Flotation devices including surfboards, boats or canoes
- Laser pointers (obviously, everyone hates those!)
- Kites (okay, we get no drones, but kites, really?!)
- Remote-control cars (might as well ban those obnoxious sneaker-skates too)
- Fake IDs – this is not the weekend to attempt to go under-age clubbing. Capiche?
Fines of up to $5,500 apply, and while the law may bend to excuse good reason to carry any one of these items, there will be no lawful excuse for discharging a blood-coloured liquid from a pressurised water pistol into a restricted area. Just in case you were wondering.
The flow-on effect:
Luckily, there are some advantages to all the hoo-ha.
- Burgers: New Farm burger joint Burger Urge is crafting a special, G20-exclusive burger. Dubbed ‘The Big Bad Vlad’, the burger features two chicken breasts, two rashers of bacon, two slices of cheese, lettuce, tomato, thick cut fries (on the burger) and a dollop of sweet chilli mayo. Available from Nov 14-16.
- More burgers: Alfred & Constance bar has a special ‘Obamarama’ burger and promises to have a life-size cut-out of everyone’s favourite president.
- Even more burgers: Pony Dining has designed a ‘Barack Burger’ which features deep fried onion rings and smoked barbeque sauce.
- Free toll travel: road tolls on the Go Between Bridge will be waived from midnight on Fri 14 to Sun 16 Nov. The Gateway Bridge will be free Sat 15 Nov from 6am to midnight.
- Cheaper public transport: all public transport will be reduced by 20 per cent on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16.
- Pregnant women: If you’re due to give birth over the G20; you’ve got the all clear to call an ambulance to escort you to hospital to avoid getting stuck in traffic.
- Free gigs: with so many dignitaries in town, Brisbane is keen to fly its cultural flag. Over seven days there’ll be 100 bands and musicians and 200 free performances. Catch Brisbane-bred DJ Sampology and friends at the Yeronga Park Swimming Pool for an all-ages pool party with top tunes. There’ll also be free ‘bands in parks’ and government endorsed get-togethers across the region boasting live music, artisan markets and games at Wynnum, Sandgate, Chermside and Seventeen Mile Rocks.
- Free parking in the city: Lord Mayor Graham Quirk has announced that about 1000 car spaces at the King George Square and Wickham Terrace carparks will be free during the long weekend to ensure the city doesn’t turn into a ‘ghost town’.
Word on the street is that more than 10,000 croissants, 25,000 kg of fresh produce, 100,000 sweets and 100,000 meals will be dished up to dignitaries at G20, but what are all these big-wigs talking about as they nosh?
Let’s get down to the basics: G20 stands for Group of Twenty, an assembly of governments and leaders of the world’s largest economies. This is made up of 19 countries and the European Union. As for the topics at play, it’s all about the bank, yo! We’re talking global financial matters. After all, money really does make the world go round. Speaking of dollars, the event itself costs a cool $400 million. No biggie.
So as not to confuse the issue, climate change has been taken off the agenda for discussion after Tony Abbott expressed he didn’t want the talks to be “cluttered” with issues not relating to economic growth. Makes sense.
Brisbane’s a far cry from North Korea, but quick, ‘look like you’re having fun, Brisbane!’ The world is watching.