Archive for Australia
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says officials are in talks with US counterparts to get clarity on how the order may affect Australians. “The Australian embassy in Washington is engaging with US officials on the potential implications of the suspension for Australian travellers, including dual nationals,” a spokeswoman told AAP in a statement. All travellers are being warned that rules could change at short notice. “Travellers should contact the nearest embassy or consulate of the United States for the most current information,” the spokeswoman added. Australians who hold passports from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen may potentially be turned away from the US. The government’s Smarttraveller website has updated its notifications warning travellers to the US about the controversial new rules. Australians who are dual citizens of Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria will no longer be allowed to apply for the standard electronic travel authorisation – ETSA – which travellers must complete before heading to the US. The ETSA is an online application that determines entry eligibility based on security or police risks. All those affected will have to apply for a non-immigrant visa at a US embassy or consulate.
A Russian diplomat in Australia called the remark of Australian PM Tony Abbott about his intention to “shirtfront” Vladimir Putin “immature.” He reminded the Aussie politician that he might be “very fit” but Putin is “a professional judo wrestler.” Abbot’s scandalous remark came on Monday after he told journalists that he is going to “shirtfront” the Russian president on the sidelines of G20 summit over the tragedy of the Malaysian airliner crash in the Donetsk Region of Ukraine in July. “I am going to shirtfront Mr Putin – you bet I am – I am going to be saying to Mr Putin Australians were murdered, they were murdered by Russian backed rebels,” Abbott said. Shirtfront is a football technique for a front-on chest bump or rough handling aimed at knocking your rival backward to the ground. It’s “a reportable offence and considered illegal,” says the Australian Football Rules website. The Russian Embassy in Australia, however, didn’t let Abbot’s remark go unnoticed. Third secretary of the Russian Embassy in Canberra, Aleksandr Odoevsky, told the Australian Associated Press that the remarks of the Australian PM were “immature.”
A man who rammed the front gates of the United States Embassy in Yarralumla last year has escaped conviction on mental health grounds. Adrian Richardson, 30, absconded from the mental health unit at the Canberra Hospital when he drove his orange Peugeot hatchback into the embassy’s main security gate on the evening of July 10, 2013. He previously pleaded not guilty to intentionally destroying or damaging an official residence of an internationally protected person and appeared during a brief trial in the ACT Supreme Court on Tuesday. Justice John Burns told the court the case was unusual because both Crown prosecutors and Richardson’s defence team agreed on the facts of the incident and were arguing he should not be found guilty. The court heard Richardson had left the hospital’s mental health high dependency unit, where he was treated as an in-patient for five days, before he drove towards the embassy. He revved the car’s engine and accelerated into the 3.4 metre-high gates, which caused significant damage to the gates and breached the embassy’s perimeter. Richardson, who is from Queensland, was stopped by police and security guards when he got out of the car unharmed. Mental health professionals diagnosed Mr Richardson with a psychotic illness and said he suffered from a delusional disorder, the court heard. The court heard the embassy gates were later replaced at a cost of $15,200. The jury deliberated for just 15 minutes before delivering its verdict. It found Richardson not guilty due to mental impairment.
Newsline: Cambodian protesters clash with police outside Australian embassy ahead of refugee resettlement deal
Cambodian protesters clashed with police outside the Australian embassy in Phnom Penh, as Immigration Minister Scott Morrison prepared to sign a deal in which the impoverished South-East Asian country would resettle Australian-bound refugees. At least one protester was knocked down by police, suffered a cut head and was dragged away during the protests, as more than 100 Cambodians demanded Canberra abandon the agreement. Cambodia’s Minister of Interior, Sar Kheng, told reporters in Cambodia on Friday that the resettlement deal, to be signed at a table in a bare meeting hall in Phnom Penh with a tiny Australian flag and a tiny Cambodian flag on the table, by Mr Morrison and Mr Kheng, will initially involve a small number of refugees moving to Cambodia under a pilot project.
Saudi Arabians posted to their embassy in Canberra appear to flout official requests to pay traffic and parking fines. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade data shows staff at Middle Eastern missions rack up most of the overdue fines among the capital’s diplomatic community. Saudis attached to the nation’s embassy had amassed 125 outstanding infringement notices as of March, far more than any other country’s diplomatic corps. The Saudi tally was followed by Russia’s (49 fines), Jordan’s (35) and Kuwait’s (27). Some fines had gone unpaid for more than 15 months. Yet Saudi ambassador Nabil Al Saleh made it clear the practice of ignoring traffic and parking infringements was against his wishes. Most nations, including Australia, tell their envoys to pay such fines, deferring to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations’ request that posted officials “respect the laws and regulations of the receiving state”.
Australia will open an embassy in Kiev and is considering providing military assistance to Ukraine as it battles Russian-backed rebels, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has told Parliament. Mr Abbott said the “interim” embassy would support nine Australian Federal Police investigators who are in Ukraine investigating the Malaysia Airlines MH17 tragedy. He said the Government was also considering short-term humanitarian and non-lethal military assistance to Ukraine. “I am pleased that our flag will shortly fly alongside Ukraine’s as a sign of our support in these troubled times.”
Australia and Indonesia have come to a “joint understanding” following a diplomatic row after reports surfaced last year alleging that the former had spied on Indonesian leaders. Reports alleged that Australia used its embassy in Jakarta in the spying effort. President Yudhoyono had reacted angrily to the spying allegations at the time.