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Thursday, 14 February 2013
Page: 1561

Australian Passports

(Question No. 1193)

Mr Simpkins asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, in writing, on 10 September 2012:

In respect of Australian passports containing the names of Macedonian villages, towns and regions as the 'place of birth', that have since become Hellenised and are no longer recognised by Greece;

(a) what representations has the Australian Government made to the Greek Government to ensure that Australian passports containing such places of birth are honoured by Greece, and

(b) what action has the Minister taken on behalf of Australian citizens of Macedonian descent who have been denied access to Greece because their place of birth is no longer recognised as it appears on their Australian passport, and will their passports showing that they have been denied access to Greece affect their ability to enter other European Union member countries; if so, how, and what action is the Minister taking to resolve this problem.

Dr Emerson: The following answer has been provided by the Minister for Foreign Affairs to the honourable member's question:

(a) On 6 September 2012, the Australian Embassy in Athens made representations to the Greek Ministry for Foreign Affairs about three separate cases of Australian citizens who were denied entry into Greece. These representations were made on the basis that the Australians were allegedly carrying "invalid" passports. The Greek government has advised that these individuals were denied entry because Greece does not accept official documents from third countries which contain "inaccurate denominations" of Greek geographical places. This measure is applied by the Greek government to the passports of all foreign nationals.

(b) As it is for Australia, it is the discretion of the Greek government to decide whom it allows to enter its territory. The smartraveller website maintained by the Australian Government cautions individuals in its travel advice for Greece that they may encounter problems entering Greece on travel documents that use place names not officially recognised by Greece. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is unaware of any cases where individuals were denied entry to other European Union countries on the basis of denied access to Greece.