When President Obama attended the G-20 summit in Brisbane, Australia last November, the entire delegation required over 5,000 room nights at five different hotels over the course of the summit, costing $2.1 million. Transporting all those people around Brisbane was not cheap: the State Department just released details of a contract for transportation services that estimated the cost at $1,370,098.
Unlike some of these contract postings, this one did not include details on the number or types of vehicles required, but others in the past have included sedans, SUVs, vans, box trucks for cargo, and even buses. Cost comparisons are problematic since prices vary greatly from country to country and often drivers are included in the contracts, but a quick check of Washington, D.C. prices reveals that $1.37 million would, at retail prices, pay for a fleet of 100 Jeep Grand Cherokees for almost four months.
Although exact dates are not provided by the government, it's likely advance teams, security personnel, and various diplomats were in Brisbane for two or even three weeks around President Obama's visit. The president himself was only in the country for about a day, and, of course, the White House flies in vehicles used by the president on foreign trips. For instance, the Washington Postreported that for the Obamas' trip to Africa in 2013, the military flew in "56 support vehicles, including 14 limousines and three trucks."
Australian prime minister Tony Abbott says that "The National Security Committee of Cabine has ... convened for briefings on the situation" a "reported hostage taking incident in Martin Place in Sydney."
"New South Wales police and the Australian federal police are currently responding to a reported hostage-taking incident in Martin Place in Sydney," reads Abbott's statement.
I have spoken with NSW premier Mike Baird and offered him all possible Commonwealth support and assistance.
President Obama stayed only one night in Australia for the G-20 summit, but the entire presidential delegation required over 4,000 rooms costing in excess of $1.7 million for the entire stay. Rooms at three different hotels were reserved for the U.S. delegation, and due to the large number of countries involved in the summit, the Australian government parceled out available hotels to each nation's delegation. The majority of the U.S.
A foolish optimism about human nature can’t withstand even a nodding acquaintance with history. If you’re of a certain age you may well remember seeing this photo. It was published years ago in Life magazine, among other places. And once seen, it is not easily forgotten. The Scrapbook retrieved the copy reproduced here from the endlessly fascinating World War II Today website, maintained and curated since 2008 by Martin Cherrett (ww2today.com). Here is Mr. Cherrett’s description:
I'm sitting at my desk, looking at a photograph of a gangrenous foot. It is a bloated thing in hues of phlegmatic gray rot, sanguine inflammation, melancholic black bile, and choleric open sores—exhibiting all the humors of a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Canberra has joined Tokyo and other U.S. allies in Asia by electing a conservative government vowing less tax on business, robust defense, support for the United States, and guarded cooperation with China. A big victory in Australia’s national election on September 7 for Tony Abbott’s Liberal-Nationals ends six years of political tumult under Labor.
The victory by hard-nosed conservative Tony Abbott and his Liberal party in Australia’s national election on Saturday may not have lessons for America. But the center-right victory and ouster of the Labor party–it’s the liberal party–makes comparisons between what happened in Australia and American elections worth considering. Here are a few of them:
Sydney A century ago, Australia used a “dictation test” to keep non-whites and selected others from entering the country. It required an immigrant to write 50 words in any language chosen by the customs official who administered the test. The most notorious example occurred in 1934, when a Czech immigrant was told to write a passage in Scottish Gaelic. The test was abolished in 1958.
Melbourne Absent a stunning reversal of fortune, Tony Abbott is a good bet to be the next prime minister of Australia. He’s the head of the Liberal party, which is expected to capture Parliament from the Labor party in the national election on September 7. In today’s politics, Liberals are misnamed. They’re actually the conservative party in Australia. So if all goes well, Abbott will become one of the world’s leading conservatives.