APEC: you’re not invited to the party

Edmund Tadros, August 27, 2007

Sydney is about to host Australia’s most exclusive party.

Janette Howard and, inset, the star guest who's waved off coming to Sydney, Laura BushYou’re paying for it but as the organisers of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit and the state government made clear at the weekend, you are definitely not invited.

In addition, the most important invitee has thrown the agenda for the $177 million (and counting) party into disarray and his wife has been forced to send her regrets.

This morning US first lady Laura Bush announced she would not attend next week, citing a a pinched nerve.

The news will come as a blow to prime mininster John Howard’s wife Janette, who will host a Spouse’s Program during the summit that will involve seeing native animals and a visit to Bondi.

A media release from the APEC Taskforce made much of how this would "showcase Sydney’s unique heritage" but made little mention of the disruption it would cause to Bondi on Sunday, September 9.

Clearways will be implemented along Bondi on the Sunday, a security operation around the Icebergs Dining Room and Bar will cut off members from their club until 4pm and the tens of thousands expected at the annual Festival of Winds kite carnival on Bondi Beach are likely to encounter delays.

Bush to leave early

This comes after Mrs Bush’s husband confirmed he is arriving and leaving the APEC summit early so he can be present when a progress report on the war in Iraq is presented in Washington and for the sixth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on America.

The change in plans for the most important world leader at the summit has meant the early implementation of widespread clearways and security measures that, in the words of Deputy Premier John Watkins, meant organisers had to go back to the drawing board after two years’ worth of planning.

The early arrival means that CBD workers will be affected by APEC-related disruptions during three working days – from Tuesday, September 4, until Thursday, September 6 – and not just the APEC long weekend.

The disruptions include a 5 kilometre, 2.8-metre fence that will lock up sections of the CBD, declared APEC security areas throughout the city, road closures and special event clearway signs in suburbs up to 11 kilometres from the city centre. This is not to mention the disruption that a large scale protest planned for Saturday, September 8, is likely to cause.

Source: SMH  

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