Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Saudi Arabia’s diplomats flouting Australian laws

A Freedom of Information release detailed by Fairfax Media from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has revealed Saudi diplomats have been caught flouting road rules in Canberra and have avoided penalties by claiming diplomatic immunity. Cases uncovered in the Freedom of Information release include a Saudi diplomat at the royal embassy of Saudi Arabia who drove at 135 km/h, pursued by police who failed to provide a valid licence and blamed his behaviour on a lack of antibiotics. The diplomat used his immunity to avoid a $1811 fine. Another Saudi was caught travelling in his father’s car at 126 km/h in an 80 km/h zone, and reportedly blamed his speeding because he needed to “go to the toilet.” The diplomats were never formally charged by police and most did not pay their fines. Other diplomats are mentioned in the DFAT reports include a Mexican Embassy staffer who police had believed was drinking but did not breathalise after the staffer threatened to lodge a complaint. The document revealed more than 200 reminder notices were served to foreign embassies chasing overdue fines.



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