Saturday, 13 December 2014

Get real, Australia tells its travellers

NO, you can’t get a loan to pay for a prostitute in Thailand. 

And seeking assistance to evict a polecat above a ceiling in the US is going to be futile. Australia is taking steps to curb the absurd requests that its travelling citizens have lodged with Australian embassies and consulates around the world.

Foreign minister Julie Bishop has announced new measures to underscore consular services as a last resort and to promote “a stronger culture of self-reliance and personal responsibility in the travelling public”.

These measures include a new policy of providing minimal consular services to Australians who willfully, repeatedly, or negligently get themselves into trouble. Charging for the consular help is also something the government is considering, she said.

“Our consular staff are not there to pay for the repairs to your jet ski; they’re not there to pay your hotel bill; they’re not there to lend you a laptop or to provide you with office space in the embassy for you to do your work,” Bishop said, listing actual requests that Australian embassies have refused.

At the embassy in Bangkok — Australia’s busiest — an Australian walked in with a prostitute and was refused a loan to pay for the services she had provided, said an official at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Such requests are common at that embassy, she said. Other locations that frequently get absurd requests include Los Angeles, Bali, Manila and Dubai, she said, adding that Australian embassies and high commissions in the US, Canada, and New Zealand were experiencing similar escalating expectations from its citizens.

Diplomats have fielded requests for an armoured car, help removing a polecat above the ceiling of a house, and intervention to prevent payment of a speeding fine.

The official said 20 per cent of emergency loans made to Australians overseas are never repaid.

Go Holiday news :

Picture Credit: "England world cup winners" by BombDog via Wikimedia Commons

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