Czech President Václav Klaus has suffered another public relations hit on a trip to Australia after refusing to pass through security at the entrance to Canberra’s Parliament House. On a trip to Chile in April Klaus achieved brief international celebrity when he was seen pocketing a pen during a televised press conference.
On tour of the country organized by Australian think tank the Institute of Public Affairs, Klaus was being led into Parliament House for an interview with ABC1 when he stopped at the sight of the security checkpoint. ABC producer Michelle Ainsworth was escorting the president to the studio and did her best to reason with him.
“As soon as he saw the security device he stopped and said: ‘I’m not going through there,’” Ainsworth told ABC News Online. “So I told him that everyone goes through. To which he repeated he wasn’t going to go through.”
The security guard on site was emphatic that everyone has to go through security, upon which, according to Ainsworth, Klaus said “I will not go through. I'm leaving. I’m going back to my hotel. If you want to interview me, you can do it there.” The Czech president then walked away without another word.
At Canberra’s National Press Club Klaus had given an address titled the “mass delusion of climate change,” in which he linked the carbon tax and attempts to regulate the environment with the totalitarianism of the former communist regime.
The loss of a presidential interview apparently did not prove a major disappointment for ABC1. According to the Sydney Morning Herald jilted reporter Chris Uhlmann wrote a note to his colleagues saying, “We are getting more media for not doing the interview with Klaus than we would have if we did. I call that a win/win.”