Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Monday, 7 November 2005
Page: 34

Mr SLIPPER (2:43 PM) —My question is addressed to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. In view of the ongoing riots in France, what advice does the government have for Australians travelling to Paris at this time?

Mr DOWNER (Minister for Foreign Affairs) —I thank the honourable member for his question and his interest. I think all members of the House will be aware that there have been violent riots, including arson, looting and widespread damage to property, in the northern Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois and in other parts of Paris, and indeed now into other cities in France, such as Lille, Marseilles, Toulouse, Strasbourg and Nice.

Sadly, the rioting has the potential to spread still further, bearing in mind that the riots are now into their 10th day. On Saturday, rioters burnt nearly 1,300 cars and over 300 arrests were made, meaning that a total of some 3,300 vehicles have been torched since the rioting began. Schools, nurseries, shops, post offices and police stations have also been attacked. Police uncovered a gasoline bomb-making factory in a derelict building in the south of Paris. Of course, the Australian government strongly condemn these acts of violence and the needless and wanton destruction of property that has accompanied it. We welcome the statement by the French government expressing its resolve to restore law and order.

Given the continuing violence—we do not know how long this will go on for; we hope it does not go for an hour longer—and the spread beyond localised areas of most regions of France, today the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade reissued our travel advice for France. The travel advice urges Australians in France to monitor the media closely and to exercise a high degree of caution should they need to travel through areas which are affected in any way by the riots. We would urge any Australians in France, or those who are planning to visit France, to consult the travel advisory.