If you haven’t been following the G20 Summit in Brisbane, here are ten things that happened over the weekend that help to form an important way forward for our international community.
1. Brisbane became a ghost town
— Adam Todd (@_AdamTodd) November 13, 2014
This is what Brisbane would look like after the rapture (although we imagine there would be more sets of clothes lying around on the ground). Businesses in the security/exclusion zones were encouraged to work from home for the duration of the G20, and many barriers were erected around roads, parks, footpaths and buildings.
2. David Cameron addressed our Parliament
The British Prime Minister addressed our government, vowing to tighten the commonwealth bonds on trade, security and the global agenda. We were worried the address would end up being a telling off to one of the Queen’s errant and unruly colonies, but Mr Cameron apparently had an Australian auntie sitting in the gallery so he was on his best behaviour.
3. Obama charmed the pants off UQ
For his first trick, Obama dropped in at the University of Queensland, and proceeded to be witty and inspiring, making jokes about twitter, Lady Gaga, XXXX beer and ‘Brisvegas’. He then roused the 1000-strong crowd, speaking of the need for Australia, like America, to “step up” on climate change, gay’s rights and women’s rights.
4. We cringed at Abbott’s Leader’s Retreat opening remarks
Unfortunately, Abbott’s opening speech was focused on Australia’s internal woes, rather than focusing on moving forward on international issues. Many have criticised this ploy; Bill Shorten said his address was “weird and graceless”, and unfortunately, we have to agree.
5. Lots of Protests
This protest on the beach was probably the greatest and most hilarious-looking “head in the sand on climate change” protest we’ve ever seen. Other protests in the city centre were more serious; they were mostly peaceful yet the 2000 strong throng of dissidents still managed to worry police. Anti-capitalism, pro-renewable energy, anti-offshore detention, anti-coal and anti-war were some of the more contentious issues represented; the fake Tony Abbott was a highlight for the crowd, as was this naughty placard of Putin as Doctor Evil (come on – it is rather funny…).
Brisbane ended up with 6000 police for the event, and managed it well, only needing to make 14 arrests and serving 27 “exclusion notices”.
6. Abbott let everyone talk about Climate Change
It’s no secret that Abbott didn’t want climate change on the agenda as it “wasn’t an economic issue”. After pressure from the majority of other governments, he was not able to keep the issue off the table, but still fought to keep the language vague. In the early stages, he supposedly told the delegation that “as the world’s largest producer of coal, I’d like to stand up for coal”. Nobody else stood up. Eventually the Government has said it will reveal Australia’s targets before the Paris Summit next year, but has not made firm commitments to definitive action, or to contribute to global funds, like Obama’s pledge of $3billion to the Green Climate Fund.
7. Putin reverse shirt-fronted Abbott with big shiny warships.
Everyone got a little worried when it was made known that a bunch of Russian warships were bearing down on Australia shortly after Putin’s arrival on our soil. There was speculation of nuclear submarine presence. The ships stayed outside of Australian waters, but it is thought that Putin was making an international display of strength after Abbott’s “shirt-fronting” comments over the Ukraine situation.
8. Everyone was mean to Russia about Ukraine
Putin left early because he “needed to catch up on sleep” before starting work again on Monday, however many believe he was annoyed and feeling out of sorts because everyone was bullying him about the Ukraine. Abbott had some “very frank discussions” around Russian compensation and apologies to the victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17.
9. Jimbelung & Nala hosted a big furry party.
The G20 leaders took some time out to cuddle two cute and fluffy koalas from Dreamworld. These security-vetted junior dropbears were even more charming than Obama, and managed to get Putin to crack a smile. It is possible that Jimbelung is the only one at the summit that managed to get Abbott and Putin to smile together in the same place at the same time. In other, yet equally important news, the First Spouses Club (yes it’s totally a thing) met their real fans – the inhabitants of the Brisbane Animal Sanctuary. These fluffy groupies were the real shirt-fronters (get it!?!?).
10. The Brisbane Action Plan was announced.
The Brisbane Action Plan is comprised of 800 measures across a raft of international economic policy, the most prominent of these being the agreement to increase G20 economic growth by 2.1% by 2018. They will also look to engage more than 100 million in the G20 workforce in the coming years and increase access to education, training and skills development. Oh and some “strong language” on climate change.
This has been your guide to the world of G20 Facts. We hope you’ve enjoyed yourself, and if you have any other newsworthy facts from the Summit, please let us know in the comments below!