Date
24 September 2017
If a polecat is getting too comfortable on your roof, you can't get the Australian foreign office to deal with it. That's the message for Australians who make frivolous demands on their embassies. Photo: Internet
If a polecat is getting too comfortable on your roof, you can't get the Australian foreign office to deal with it. That's the message for Australians who make frivolous demands on their embassies. Photo: Internet

You can’t do that: Pesky Aussies told to lay off embassies

Australia has had enough of “distressed” nationals making outrageous demands at its missions abroad.

The government is cracking down on the practice after several of its embassies were forced to deal with frivolous requests.

One involved a man who asked the Australian embassy in Thailand to pay for a prostiture. Another asked officials to get a polecat off a roof.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said some embassies attract “serial pests” who return repeatedly with odd demands, according to BBC News.

More than 15,000 Australian travelers asked for help last year.

Bishop listed a number of requests that had been refused by Australian embassies over the past year.

“Our consular staff are not there to pay for the repairs to your jet ski,” she said.

“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.”

Staff in the foreign affairs office said one traveler asked for help in looking after her dogs while she was away.

Such requests are common, said Anita Downey, a senior official at Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The Bangkok mission deals with the most requests for assistance, followed by Bali, Manila, Los Angeles and Dubai.

The new measures include a policy of providing selective or limited consular help to people who get themselves into difficulties.

There are also plans to consider charging Australians for any consular help they receive.

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FL/RA

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