Wednesday, December 21, 2005


It sounds like the Cronulla violence has prompted foreign governments to advise tourists to stay away from Australia:
Foreign nations have issued travel advisories against Australia in the wake of the recent Sydney race riots ...
If there was anything to this, the countries involved and the warnings themselves would have been included. So, lets follow the provided link and see what The Age had to say:
Britain, Canada and Indonesia are warning their residents about the risks of travelling to Sydney following outbreaks of race related violence.

The British warning mentions recent "sporadic outbreaks of racially motivated violence in Cronulla, Maroubra, Brighton-le-Sands'' and "areas of south-west Sydney''.
Hmm, why the little snippets of quotes from the British advisory and nothing from the Canadian and Indonesian advisories? It didn't take long to figure out what's going on here.

The relevant section from the British travel advisory (my bold):
Since 11 December 2005, there have been sporadic outbreaks of racially motivated violence in Cronulla, Maroubra, Brighton-le-Sands and other areas of south west Sydney. You should monitor the situation, and exercise caution if visiting these areas – particularly on the local beaches, or at night.

Be particularly careful with personal possessions and travel documents in popular tourist destinations such as Sydney, Cairns, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast. Robberies of safe deposit facilities at cheaper hotels and hostels are not uncommon. Unattended vehicles and identifiable hire cars can also be targets. Particular care should also be taken when walking in areas such as the Kings Cross district of Sydney and downtown George Street. Take care when you are withdrawing cash from cash machines. As with most cities in the world, care should be taken with important documents, belongings and personal items. Avoid carrying everything in one bag. Remain vigilant for petty crime anywhere.
The advisory also discusses the terror threat:
You should be aware of the threat from terrorism in Australia. Attacks could be indiscriminate and against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.

On 3 November 2005, the Australian government introduced an urgent amendment to the country's counter-terrorism legislation, in response to an assessment by Australian intelligence agencies that a terrorist attack in Australia is feasible and could well occur. Subsequently on 8 November 2005, the Australian police arrested 16 people in Sydney and Melbourne in a counter-terrorism operation designed to disrupt preparations for a terrorist attack.
British visitors to Australia are advised to be alert in general. Sydney beach violence is the least of their worries.

Foreign Affairs Canada has issued no Travel Warning for Australia but there is a Travel Report, which states, in part (my bold):
Most Canadian visitors to Australia do not experience problems. Violent crime is low. However, foreigners are targets for pickpockets and purse snatchers, especially at airports. Vehicle break-ins are common. All travellers should exercise caution in the more popular tourist areas (e.g., St. Kilda in Melbourne; Kings Cross, downtown George Street, Darling Harbour, Bondi Beach and the Rocks areas in Sydney; Cairns and the Gold Coast in Queensland). Hitchhiking should be avoided at all times, and women should not travel alone after dark.

Violent attacks on backpackers occur. Travellers, especially backpackers, should ensure that their personal belongings are secure, particularly in crowded places. Robberies of safe-deposit facilities are common at inexpensive hotels and hostels. The emergency number for police, ambulance, and fire services is 000.
Again, big deal. As for any Indonesian travel advisory, if one has been issued it's damned hard to find.

The Age's reporting on this is either intentionally slanted or irresponsible and half-arsed. (Actually, having reconsidered that last sentence, it's both.)

As for journalist and author Lowenstein, he continues to link to any old crap that makes Australia look bad. Let's hope he put more effort into researching the material for his upcoming books. Nah, he hasn't got it in him.


Anonymous murph said...

Lowenstein can barely be considered an author or journalist

6:02 AM  

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