House debates

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Questions without Notice

Thailand: Travel Advice

3:30 pm

Photo of Jill HallJill Hall (Shortland, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Trade representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs. What is the government doing to assist Australians affected by disruptions at Bangkok International Airport?

Photo of Simon CreanSimon Crean (Hotham, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Trade) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the honourable member for her question and for her concern in relation to the events in Bangkok. Anti-government protests in Bangkok have disrupted flights in and out of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport. As at 11.45 today, the international airport was closed by Airports of Thailand. The duration of the closure is not known at this stage. There have also been demonstrations at the Don Muang domestic airport. Some Australians, including those in transit, have been affected by flight disruptions. The Australian embassy is maintaining close contact with local authorities, and consular officers have been stationed in Bangkok International Airport to assist Australians and liaise with the airlines.

The travel advice for Thailand was reissued this morning and continues to advise Australians to exercise a high degree of caution because of the uncertain political situation and the ongoing political unrest. Australians are advised to avoid demonstrations, to avoid political rallies and concentrations of military personnel and to continue to regularly monitor local media and travel advice. The situation in Thailand, and in particular at Bangkok International Airport, is being continually monitored by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Any changes in the situation or increased threat to Australians in Thailand will be reflected in the travel advice. Australians in Thailand or planning to travel to Thailand should remain in close contact with their airlines and travel providers, follow any instructions issued by local authorities and monitor DFAT’s travel advice at for any updates. Australians in Thailand who require consular assistance can contact DFAT’s 24-hour consular emergency centre on (61)(2)62613305. Here is another number for you: any family in Australia with serious concerns may call 1300555135. The consular centre has put on extra staff to handle inquiries from Australian travellers and their families.