This really is one of Australia's darkest weeks as an independent nation. Parts of Sydney including the Opera House, Botanic Gardens and Circular Quay have been fenced off for the APEC gabfests. It's been called the biggest security operation in Australia since the 2000 Olympics. But at least with the Olympic Games, it was a celebratory occasion for all to join in. This is just a paranoid exercise in keeping Them (in upper case) away from us (in lower case).
But things get really absurd when tourists are instructed by the local gendarmerie against taking photos of the Great Wall of Sydney. Or, if they go ahead and press Record, are then instructed to delete the images from their cameras. It's happening.
You can argue for and against the merits of the tight security for the nationals of 21 countries who will be present in the city this week. Sadly, there will be trouble at some of the many demonstrations later this week. John Howard has all but said "bring it on". But the bottom line is that this conference should never have been held in the middle of Sydney.
Instead of the stunning harbourside views, we should be treating our APEC guests to a truly Aussie waterside setting. A truckload of hospitality tents alongside Lake Eyre would have been my choice.