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Tuesday, February 24, 2004
Canberra Parliament

I had one or two similar experiences to Bill Bryson when I went to Canberra. At the security check, they noticed the tiny penknife I had forgotten I was carrying and put it in a secure place, giving me a ticket for it.

I wandered happily round the Parliament building musing on the security anomalies. I had just parked in an underground car park, right underneath the parliament building. There appeared to be nobody checking to see if someone had parked a car bomb although there were concrete barriers designed to stop suicide bombers in trucks making a direct run at the building.

When it was time to leave, at first I couldn’t find the ticket for my penknife. ‘You’ll recognize it easily,’ I said to the cop on duty. ‘It’s a Kalashnikov.’ Then I found the ticket and got the penknife back. And, do you know, the policeman fell about laughing at my little jest. One cannot imagine that happening in any other security-conscious country. Mind you, I wouldn’t be that facetious at an airport…

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