The police love it. Protest organisers behind current hot-topic issues such as Black Lives Matter and treatment of asylum seekers think it’s great too. Motorists who just want to use city streets without any hassle or disruptions are also tooting their approval.
It’s a win-win-win for almost everybody. And, indeed, it’s the type of logical compromise that has us all scratching our heads and pondering: why didn’t someone think of this before?
It was a no-brainer when you link two simple facts:
One: last night’s asylum seeker protest in front of Sydney Town Hall that was expected to attract only hundreds of people had to be banned because of COVID-19 second wave fears; and
Two: On the same day, the announcement came that it would soon be safe to have 10,000 fans cramming the entrance doors and eateries at sporting stadiums.
So, hello, people! Have you got it yet?
That’s right. From now on, all major open-air protests on pressing social issues will take place at sporting stadiums around the nation, with all state premiers and territory leaders agreeing overnight to fast-track the reopening of their stadiums immediately from the 10,000 announced only yesterday to half their capacity, which would still social distancing rules in play.
Protesters on their part must agree to stop chanting and put down their placards before kick-off of all resumed NRL and AFL games, as well as rugby and soccer fixtures when they return soon.
“The plan in simply brilliant,” Australian Rugby League Commission chair Peter V’landys told The Bug.
“Take ANZ stadium [the Olympic stadium] out at Homebush. Even with a Sydney derby, our shitty game never attracts more than about 15,000 fans.
“So even at half-capacity to follow COVID-19 distancing rules, we could also accommodate the maximum of 30,000 protesters who attended recent rallies around our capital cities.”
Of course, every plan that’s a stroke of genius always has its detractors.
A spokesperson for the Australian Federation of Habitual Drink-Driving Re-offenders said its members had quite enjoyed having city and suburban streets to themselves as thousands of police were diverted for hours to mass inner-city protest rallies.
“It’s been a real joy for our members to be able to knock back a few and then knock over a few without the fear of being pulled over,” he said.
That stand was supported by the National Union of Lowlife Drug Users and Petty Criminals, with a spokesperson commenting: “Those long rallies were the perfect time for our members to rob the thousands of 24-hour convenience stores that dot our main cities.
“There hasn’t been a simpler way or safer time to grab a quick handful of cash to pay for a fix or two. And a carton or two of smokes.”