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Thursday, 17 October 2002
Page: 5398


Senator CHRIS EVANS (2:30 PM) — My question is directed to Senator Hill, the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Can the minister confirm that the travel advisory for Australians travelling to the Republic of Indonesia issued on 20 September was changed on 13 October 2002? Can he also confirm that the travel advisories for Australians travelling to Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand which were issued on 10 September 2002 have not since been changed? Could the minister advise whether these travel advisories are now under review?


Senator HILL (Minister for Defence) —I think I indicated yesterday that the travel advice is now to defer proposed travel to Indonesia, and it obviously was not that before the bombing—it was basically what I have expressed as `take care on your travels'. In relation to other tourist destinations in Asia, my understanding is that the travel advisories have not been changed but the matter continues to be considered.


Senator CHRIS EVANS —Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. I thank the minister for his answer, but he did not answer the primary question I asked him, which was whether he can confirm that the travel advisory for Australians travelling to the Republic of Indonesia issued on 20 September was changed on 13 October this year. I would like him to address that. Can he also advise whether Australia, the US, the UK and Canada base their travel advisories on the same shared intelligence and whether the Australian government consults any of those countries in the preparation of travel advisories?


Senator HILL (Minister for Defence) —We are obviously at cross-purposes. I said that it was, as I understand it, changed after the bombing in the terms that I have just expressed. I would need to seek advice from DFAT on the question of whether different countries confer with each other as to their advisories but I would be confident that, in relation to our region, countries such as the United States and Australia would be basically working off the same source intelligence. We might not be working off the same assessments of that source, but certainly there is widespread sharing of intelligence and the intelligence is an important part of the information base which is used to determine travel advisories.