Saul says it all

The emperor has no clothes, says high-profile economist Saul Eslake.  Why didn’t one of us travel writers dare to pen this biting piece about the absurdities of airport security a long time ago? It took an economist to spell it out for us…  How much longer should any self-respecting Australian endure this supposedly random wait-whilst-I-check-for-explosives pantomime?

This is a good airport...

This is the kind of airport I like...

Often it’s about pandering to American phobias, post-9/11. How would I know?  The last time I passed through Bangkok, one of the local politicians had just let the cat out of the bag.  Airport security officials baulked at obeying a directive to ease up on trouser belt removals, because, as they admitted, if the American aviation authorities get wind of it they might blacklist the offending airport.

No such fear applies to domestic flight operations in many countries, hence my unexpectedly pleasant experience recently in Christchurch, New Zealand: “straight through the door and up the stairs [onto the aircraft], thank you sir!”  Haere mai, indeed.

...or maybe this!

By the way, Eslake has also had the temerity to question whether price-busting foreign bananas would really represent a threat to the nation’s biosecurity, or might it be that quarantine concerns always make a convenient fig-leaf for self-interested scaremongering.  That man is a threat to our national xenophobia.  But I digress.


2 thoughts on “Saul says it all

  1. Phillip, thank you very much for your support. I appreciate it, and the spirit in which you have penned this piece. But you raise a fundamentally important question. Why haven’t Qantas and Virgin Blue kicked up the fuss that, for example, BA has about the costs imposed on them and the delays imposed on their “customers”/”guests”? Why haven’t Australia’s tourist industry leaders been complaining about the adverse impact on the number of visitors to Australia of our increasingly unfriendly visa regime, or about the extra costs that security procedures have imposed on their struggling industry.

    And where for that matter has the “civil liberties” wing of the Labor Party (I’m assuming the Liberals don’t have one any more, and of course the Nats never did) been on any of these issues, or on the appalling treatment meeted out two at least two Australian citizens with the connivance of Australian authorities, and to an innocent foreign visitor to our country at the hands of Australian authorities?

    Like you say, it shouldn’t have fallen to an economist to raise them.

  2. Saul, thanks for visiting my humble blog. Why indeed do Australia’s travel and aviation industries, not to mention the civil liberties interest groups, so seldom protest? No sacred cow more sacrosanct than Security, it seems.

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