Australia will spend over $500 million hosting this year’s G20 meetings

Paid for with health and welfare cuts.

In the world of ordinary taxpayers that is a lot of money that could otherwise be spent in the nation’s schools, hospitals or other worthwhile public purposes. So what are the benefits of the G20 and can the world’s self-described “premier economic forum” justify its existence?

The G20 came into its own in 2008, when the world was staring down the barrel of the worst financial crisis since World War II. The initial Washington and London Summits held six months apart in 2008 and 2009 made substantial progress in averting a deeper global financial crisis.