Spy cameras in the Federal Press Gallery? Hi-tech speed bumps around Parliament? The war on terror has come to the nation’s capital.
In amongst this Alan Ramsey spray in last Saturday’s SMH on the very expensive security upgrades around Parliament House, he glossed over the speed bumps being built into the road encircling Parliament House. The grandly named Parliament Drive.
Being built into? Yes indeed. No mere globs of concrete or ashphalt, these. The road was first dug up, then angled reinforced concrete poured at the boundaries, and finally ashphalt filled these daises of engineering excellence known as “bumps”.
So what safety or security need were these amazing slowing devices filling? Safety? The accident/injury/death rate around Parliament Drive is a steady 0/0/0 year on year.
No unaccompanied children cross the road. The speed limit is 40kmh and police occasionally leap out to ticketany who dares take their car out of third gear. It will be very hard to measure a return on this investment on safety grounds.
Security? Will a Jihadist in a suicide truck bound for martyrdom be overly concerned with wear on the suspension?
Are we gambling the Parliament’s safety on the chance of a truck over-laden with ammonia nitrate bottoming out while speeding to its
rendezvous with the deity of the driver’s choice?
*Mechanics, ballerinas and bare bottoms*
Perhaps we can look to an incident in the (for the sake of this argument beyond any relevant statute of limitations) past to blame
for these severely disruptive speed bumps being thrown into a flurry of security expenditure?
A night, when a decrepit Australian-made car bearing three deeply inebriated young men circled the building at some speed with naked
bottoms hanging out the windows?
A night, when the driver of the vehicle while attempting to remove his trousers and join in the fun lost control and pranged into the gutter of the Senate exit ramp?
A night, in which the driver managed to restart the car and, at low speed, making a hideous racket, limped across Commonwealth Bridge and into a car park near the Canberra Theatre?
Where a loitering group of ballerinas, of which one was an apprentice mechanic, enabled sufficient repairs to get the car back to its home
and away from the clutches of whatever security operation was unfolding not far behind? (People who live in the weirdness of Canberra are constantly amazed we are thought dull).
Could this incident, which the security cameras would most certainly have captured (although they did not have the resolution to record
licence plates) have been the long-nurtured inspiration for these speed bumps?
Similarly, what of the relatively recent installation of security cameras in the Press Gallery? Has this had anything to do with after-hours adultery and the unfortunate (not to mention startling) discovery that the hand rails in the disabled toilet/shower are not as sturdy as a casual observer might at first believe?
CRIKEY: Hmmm. Did the spy cameras capture the action in the showers? And is the House’s top bureaucrat, Hilary Penfold, sitting on some steamy footage? Send us your conjecture.