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No-fly zones

Submitted by rickeyre on November 14, 2006 - 10:38am

What do you think when you hear the term "no-fly zone"?

There's the exclusion zones set up to stop prying eyes getting close to top security bases, for example Pine Gap, the top secret US intelligence satellite tracking base in the Northern Territory that everyone has known about for three decades.

There's the no-fly zone set up in northern and southern Iraq in the 1990s by the US and UK governments, ostensibly to stop Saddam from gassing his neighbours.

There's the no-fly zone over the White House, Camp David, the "Western White House" at Crawford Texas, and anywhere else those pesky terrorists might try and mow down His Beloved Dubyaness.

And moving forward in the world of post-9/11 paranoia, the biggest sporting events have been accorded the honour of no-flyover status to offer protection from aerial attack. The Olympic Games of 2004 and 2006, the FIFA World Cups of 2002 and 2006, even the ICC Cricket World Cup in South Africa in 2003 had no-fly zones over its stadia.

But there's another threat, apparently even more vile than international terrorism, which has led to the Queensland Government acting to secure the airspace above The Gabba for the First Test later this month.

It's parasite marketing.

The heinous threat of Unpaid Advertising Exposure became apparent to all at the AFL Grand Final at the MCG in September. I mean, the Toyota AFL Grand Final. Because in the skies above the Melbourne Cricket Club, there was a blimp emblazened with the word "Holden".

How un-Australian, the suits of the sports administrators and their corporate partners cried. Oh, the humanity!

Currently before the Queensland Legislative Assembly (Queensland having only one house of parliament) is the Major Sports Facilities Bill 2006, which, alongside tightening of anti-scalping laws, "creates new offences and penalties for unauthorised aerial advertising over declared events held at major sports facilities."

Fans hoping to see RAAF fighter planes shooting down rogue zeppelins over the Brisbane River will be disappointed, however, as the maximum penalty is nothing more than a monetary fine - 700 penalty units (which I think equates to $500 and a house on Park Lane).

Queensland's War on Ambush has been applauded by Cricket Australia, warning that "parasite marketing could threaten Australia's ability to stage major sporting events".

Uh huh.