Letter from Brisbane: Living through the G20

Like many other Queensland KPMG staff, I live in the Brisbane inner city, or, as it is currently know ‘the Red Zone.” As I sit here writing this blog from the comfort of my balcony, I just have to ask myself if this is all necessary? I ponder this as armed police frigates and cruisers sail past me on the Brisbane River below.

The past few weeks have been awash with media alerts and mailbox updates reporting what we can and can’t, should and should not do; where we can go, and even informing us of the food stuffs we are not allowed to stock in our houses (you may have seen the news on the eggs bans).

I’ve seen the long processions of the ‘Brissie Bike Brigade’ – our local mountain-bike version of the Mounties; I cannot go for a drive without seeing multiple police cars, and yes I’ve seen people in dark clothing gathering on rooftops of hotels. But apart from the large police presence, it is largely business as usual.

Disappointingly, I haven’t been stopped once, I haven’t been questioned, and much to the dismay of some colleagues, no-one has been frisked yet!

Whilst I have no doubt of the journalistic integrity of the media, I cannot however comprehend the scare mongering and hype that is being created to make people feel more involved in something that really has no effect on the general population at all. We’ve learned that Russian warships are mobilising in Moreton Bay; the international media has posted several (conflicting) lists of which delegates are (reportedly) staying in which hotels, and there are now speculative reports that one leader’s team is requesting the removal of round-abouts to help aid the motorcade procession.

It seems to me that we either have a global security problem where no-one is able to keep state secrets, or the local media are sensationalising everything to increase public interest. My response is – how do they know, and why would they publish this? What benefit would the public get from this information – even if it were true?

Walking around Southbank and the exclusion zones, it may seem like there has been a military coup, and we are now all living under Marshall Law, but for anyone else who is just trying to get on with life, it’s just another beautiful day in sunny BrisVegas

If nothing else, working from home and a public holiday Friday has ensured it has been one of the most productive weeks I have had in a long time.

Benn Wheeler is a Srn. Marketing Manager with KPMG living and working in Brisbane.

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