Embassies to Australians: Cut Out the Crazy Requests

New rule: Diplomacy does not mean paying its citizens' hookers
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 4, 2014 2:20 PM CST
Embassies to Australians: Cut Out the Crazy Requests
Security officers stand guard at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, Nov. 1, 2013.   (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

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 cracking down on such absurd requests that its traveling citizens have lodged with its embassies and consulates. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced the new measures in part to promote "a stronger culture of self-reliance and personal responsibility in the traveling public." The measures include a new policy of providing minimal consular services to Australians who willfully, repeatedly, or negligently get into trouble. "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," Bishop said, listing actual requests. Others:

  • At the embassy in Bangkok—Australia's busiest—an Australian walked in with a prostitute and was refused a loan to pay for services already provided, said a senior official. Such requests are common at that embassy.
  • Diplomats have fielded requests for an armored car, help removing aforementioned polecat, and intervention to prevent payment of a speeding fine.
  • Australians who were evacuated from civil unrest in Egypt in a government-chartered Qantas airliner in 2011 expected frequent flier miles.
  • Australians evacuated from the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia requested first-class seats.
(More Australia stories.)

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