Making room at the barricades

So today Melbourne went into lock down. The G-20 economic summit has come to the city and the police are preparing for the worst. Most of the CBD is blocked off and the area around the Grand Hyatt Hotel, the main conference locale, is now an impenetrable fortress. It is difficult to navigate to anywhere in the city centre without high level security clearance. It seems the G-20 summit is a private affair and my out of date press pass isn’t sufficient to get me an invite to the party. As you would expect, the general public are being kept at arms length. As with all meetings of this type there is the obligatory ring of steel to protect the elected from the electors. But now the media are finding it increasingly difficult to penetrate this barrier too. The deputy secretary of Treasury, Martin Parkinson, was quoted as saying, ‘the event was never designed to be accessible to journalists in the same way that forums such as the International Monetary Fund meetings are. It has never been a public meeting”.

It appears that although the great issues of our time will be discussed and presumably, as finance ministers and central bank governors from 19 countries and the European Union are present, international agreements will be made, we will have no knowledge of what those agreements are or how they were achieved. All we will have are the bland ‘our meeting was very convivial’ and ‘the summit was very productive’ kind of sound bites cast down to the obedient media as the event is leaving town.

I think the non-representation of environmental groups and of course, the poor is of serious concern. As Reverend Simon Moyle said very succinctly from his vigil beside the barricades at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, “Discussing economic issues in isolation from the poor, and the cost to the environment, is a form of economic tunnel vision that must be held to account.” Amen to that! But a media black out is equally worrying. The media, whether it be indy or mainstream, needs access to be able to challenge these people and to hold them to account. As these organisations operate at a level above elected government and away from the scrutiny of the electorate their isolation is a problem to us, not to them. The less people know, the less they engage the happier big business is!

I, as a respectable reactionary, am of course, doing my bit. Not by manning the barricades or staging a sit in. God no! I’m going to support small independent business and the alternative economy. I’m going wine tasting in the Yarra Valley and I’m not coming back until all those unwashed reactionary types have left town!

Reverend Moyle’s group have sworn to eat only rice and drink only water during their 60 hour vigil. What strange irony then that this weekend is Ronald McDonalds, McHappy Day. McDonalds are donating $1, for every Big Mac bought in their ‘restaurant’ over the weekend to their own charity. God, they’re good!


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