The ferals are probably upset that there wasn’t a riot, but APEC has actually been a great success.
The Prime Minister’s own woes – not to mention smug and supercilious sneering over lattes – shouldn’t obscure the facts.
Unlike the APEC meeting in South Korea and Chile – or even last year’s G20 summit of finance ministers in Melbourne – there wasn’t violence. The police presence worked and the comms and hippies behaved.
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Disruption was limited to the north-eastern corner of the Sydney CBD. The militant cyclists of Critical Mass provide a far more regular and irritating traffic delays to locals than anything APEC offered.
As a result of the meetings, Australia has secured trade deals worth tens of billions and a group of international recalcitrants – the United States, China, Malaysia and the Philippines – have endorsed the concept of emission reduction targets.
The biggest single commercial export deal in Australia’s history has been made: the sale of $45 billion worth of liquefied natural gas to China.
Australia will also benefit from the sale of up to $1 billion worth of uranium to Russia, and there will be flow-on environmental benefits from the reduction in greenhouse gases.
And while it has come as a disappointment to the activists who either want to see the immediate dismantling of a large part of our economy and a significant slashing of our quality of life – or don’t bother to think about the slogans they spout – there have been other environmental achievements too.
The world’s two largest polluters, China and the United States, and the other APEC nations have committed themselves to work towards reducing greenhouse gasses once the Kyoto protocol expires in 2012. Steps to protect forests have been made, and the target set of increasing forest cover in the Asia-Pacific region by at least 20 million hectares by 2020. Agreements on economic integration, food security, terrorism and defence have also been signed.
APEC has been highly unfashionable amongst the chattering classes. It hasn’t helped John Howard. But it’s been a resounding success.