CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – 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 such absurd requests that its travelling citizens have lodged with Australian embassies and consulates around the world.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced the new measures Wednesday to underscore consular services as a last resort and to promote “a stronger culture of self-reliance and personal responsibility in the traveling 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 services already provided, said Anita Downey, a senior counselor official at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Such requests are common at that embassy, she said.