RAY HADLEY: There’s a very important issue we need to talk to the Minster for Foreign Affairs about and she’s contacted the station and my program about that. And Marise Payne is on the line and it’s about travel to Hong Kong. Minister, good morning.
MARISE PAYNE: Good morning Ray, how are you?
RAY HADLEY: Really well, thank you. Nice to chat to you but not under these circumstances.
MARISE PAYNE: No.
RAY HADLEY: You’ve issued a warning for people going to Hong Kong in light of all the protests we’ve been reading and hearing about.
MARISE PAYNE: We have upgraded our travel advice, Ray and it is now to advise Australians to exercise a high degree of caution which brings us to what is level two of our four standards. We’ve based that on advice from our Consulate-General in Hong Kong that of course as we see on our screens, violence is increasing and we are concerned that Australians inform themselves well and make their travel decisions based on that advice.
RAY HADLEY: Okay. Given it is a favourite place for Australians to visit because it’s you know, a wonderful place, a lot of racing people go there for the Hong Kong racing, a lot of people go there as a gateway to golf tours into mainland China. It’ll have some sort of impact I’d imagine on people travelling there.
MARISE PAYNE: It will and that’s why we are cautious when we make these decisions and we make them in a very considered way, they’re not things that we do lightly. We’ve been clearly urging Australians to avoid large public gatherings in recent weeks and to most certainly read the travel advice before going to Hong Kong and I’d very strongly reinforce that to your audience.
RAY HADLEY: So in other words, of the four levels it’s the second highest level, a high degree of caution. You’re not saying don’t go there but you’re saying if you are going there, be particularly cautious about where you are and what you’re doing?
MARISE PAYNE: That’s exactly right, I’m not saying don’t go, we’re saying monitor local media for signs of unrest, avoid protests and large gatherings because they are unpredictable. And to follow all the instructions of local authorities. And we do – as you say – have a great deal of Australian interest in Hong Kong including a 100, 000 strong Hong Kong Australian diaspora. And as you say, many other people interested in both tourism, in the racing industry and those sorts of activities.
RAY HADLEY: Okay. Thanks Minister, I appreciate the warning, it’s nice of you to jump on the line. All the best to you. Thank you.
MARISE PAYNE: Thanks very much, Ray.
RAY HADLEY: Thank you. Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne.
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