Any time you get a big group of people together, awkwardness is inevitable.
When those people are the most powerful in the world, and Tony Abbott is their host, we’re talking next level awkwardness.
Even the LA Times have dissed us, calling us the ‘pimply youth’ of the world stage.
Unfair? Maybe. But Australia wasn’t the only one feeling awkward in Brisbane.
Here they are, in ascending order…
The Most Awkward G20 Moments:
6. Americans arrive. Stop traffic with their #helicopterfail.
Everyone in Brisbane was expecting road closures, which had been advertised for months.
But no one expected that a helicopter landing would bring traffic on the busy South East Freeway to a stand-still with a spontaneous dust storm that covered cars and buses and take driver visibility down to zero.
Welcome to Brisbane, you dirty fly-ins.
5. Obama shirt-fronts the PM on climate change.
Unfortunately, that helicopter landing wasn’t the only time that America left Australia in its dust this weekend.
In something less like a shirt-front and more like a political wedgie, the US President, Barack Obama managed to outmanoeuvre the Australian Government and put climate change at the forefront of people’s minds and squarely on the G20 agenda.
As chair of this year’s G20, Australia didn’t put climate change on the G20 agenda. But President Obama made it the central tenet of his first speech in Australia at the University of Queensland, which was nationally televised.
With a casual, ‘hey-have-you-guys-thought-about-this?’ tone, the President pointed out that the countries in our region will be the first and most deeply affected by climate change, that weather changes and bushfires were both signs of a climate in crisis (it was 40 degrees in Brisbane during the Summit – and the Blue Mountains were on fire), and that he’d really like to come and visit the Great Barrier Reef one day with his children and grandchildren. All with the implicit and explicit message that Australia should stop messing around and get on board.
He also slipped marriage equality and gender equality in there too.
It was awkward for Australia, especially the PM, who had fought to keep climate change off the agenda, boasted about repealing the carbon tax during his opening address to the Summit and spoke up for coal interests during the meeting.
Australia was left with our collective undies jammed right up where the climate doesn’t change.
4. Vladamir Putin has no friends.
The only person feeling less awkward than Australia was Vladamir Putin. Tony Abbott had already threatened to shirt-front him over his perceived lack of assistance in the recovery and investigation of flight MH17. Then it turned out that the Russian Navy were sending ships to hang around off the coast of Australia during the Summit.