This year is Australia's turn to host the APEC forums. Well and good. But why are the major conferences all being held in the Sydney central business district?
For the next week, Sydney will be turned into a private resort for twenty-one heads of state and their toadies. The CBD has been walled off so that the locals can't get in the way. There will even be a fireworks display on Sydney harbour next weekend that the general public can't attend.
And George Dubya Bush can't stay till the conclusion, apparently because he belatedly discovered that the 9/11 anniversary falls this year on September 11. And Laura's not coming at all. Poor Jeanette.
The merits or demerits of APEC aside, the dumping of this conference into the middle of Australia's busiest city is nothing more than the enactment of the ultimate fantasy of Australia's very own Walter Mitty, John Winston Howard. For eleven years JWH has been distorting Australia's national fabric into his own image. Not the least of which is turning Sydney into Australia's de facto capital city. After all, he has made the plush harbourside government-funded Kirribilli House his primary residence since 1996.
Why hold APEC in somewhere like, say, Canberra, when it's so far from home?
A lot more to say about APEC during the week.