Foreign Correspondents condemn arrest of French Journalists in Australia


Arrest of visiting French Journalists in Queensland


The recent arrest of French television correspondent Hugo Clément and his crew during filming near Abbot Point in Queensland is of great concern to every working journalist in Australia – including resident foreign correspondents and members of the Foreign Correspondents’ Association, Australia & South Pacific (FCA).

The FCA Board and members of the Association condemn this police action taken against Hugo Clément and his team, and any further attacks on media freedom, in the name of all foreign correspondents based in Australia and travelling to this country and its territories for short-term assignments and we demand that all foreign correspondents are not impeded in their work in this way again in Australia.

Australia has been known over many decades for its respect for the media, and for the courtesies and facilitation given to foreign correspondents to conduct their work while on either short-term visits or as longer-term residents in Australia.

To see any arrests or restrictions placed on working media, and in this case arrests of visiting correspondents’, is seen by us all as a nasty and dangerous development and threat to the modern democracy for which Australia has been known and admired previously.

We seek assurances from all Australian Governments – federal and state – that this police action against Hugo Clément and his television crew, who were simply reporting on an event, will not be repeated.

We also seek assurances from all governments in Australia that foreign correspondents will be accorded full respect, courtesies and assistance in carrying out their work here in the future.


The Board and Members of the Foreign Correspondents’ Association, Australia & South Pacific (FCA)

24 July 2019

New FCA Board members were elected at the AGM

FCA’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) elected the Board for 2018 – 2019 on Monday, Aug 5, in DFAT Sydney Conference Room. The popular Japanese TBS television correspondent Hiroki Iijima was re-elected as President, with Vice- President Sandip Hor, Treasurer Liz Lacerda, Honorary Secretary Wolfgang Mueller, Mimi Chau, Thorsten Joses and Philip Engelberts, plus Laurence Arthur (in Melbourne) and Rob Taylor (in Canberra). Great lunch after the meeting at Bar Cupola with 20 other FCA members.


FCA-DFAT Canberra Trip 29 Nov. 2017

FCA Canberra Trip

Members of the Foreign Correspondents’ Association of Australia and South Pacific were hosted by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra, on Wednesday to find out more about the department and meet with key ministers.

Twelve foreign correspondents writing for outlets from Germany, America, Japan, the United Kingdom, Spain, China and Pakistan met with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop and her shadow, Penny Wong, for on the record interviews and the all-important group photo!

DFAT staff also hosted the correspondents to a delicious working lunch, where the journalists and officials were able to find out more about each other and how the various organisations work.

Although the correspondents missed out on sitting in on the Senate as the marriage equality bill was passed through the upper house, they spent some observing the always-lively Senate Question Time.

The final stop was to the press gallery where Gillian Bradford and Laura Tingle took time out of their very busy day to talk to the foreign correspondents about how Australian political correspondents navigate Parliament House and all its goings-on.

Thank you to everyone who met with the FCA members in Canberra who shared with us their time, thoughts and experience. And a special thanks to Sheree Minehan and all the staff at DFAT who made our day so memorable!

Written by Anna Watanabe, Kyodo News

Ningaloo Reef – nature’s playground

Text: Michaela Lauren
Photographs: Thorsten Joses

Blue sky, red earth and turquoise waters – it looked pretty much like a great location for a beachside holiday anywhere in regional Australia. But, this was a trip with a twist – the real beauty laid well concealed. 

The mild, summery weather welcomed us as we landed on the airstrip at the RAAF Learmonth Base in June 2017– we were ready for our adventure. It started at nearby Exmouth, where we picked up the campervan, our home for the next two weeks.  

Our FCA Christmas party lucky draw price, Tourism Australia’s flights anywhere in Australia for two, led us to the World Heritage listed Ningaloo Coast, located in the most North-Western corner of Australia. It is home to one of the longest fringing reefs in the world, boasting more than 500 species of fish and 220 species of coral, right off the beach.

It took a snorkel, a pair of fins and a wetsuit to uncover what was hidden underneath the calm waters. For 10 days, we swam amongst thousands of fish, cruised next to humpback whales, dugongs and turtles, and explored the massive, some thousands of years old, coral formations. Despite two attempts, we missed out on the whale shark encounter, which the area is renowned for. Swimming with sting rays and playing with majestic manta rays well and truly made up for that.  

We stayed in Coral Bay and the Cape Range National Park. In comparison to the East coast, the area is remote and undeveloped. Only a few hundred locals provide services to tourists in Coral Bay during high season and a total digital detox is possible at the National Park, where a dip in the ocean is your only opportunity to bathe.   

It was a fabulous two weeks of bare feet, salty hair and sunny days in nature’s very own playground. We will return. Our sincerest thanks to Tourism Australia for contributing to our amazing Australian holiday adventure.


Highlights from Global Infrastructure Hub CEO Chris Heathcote’s briefing

What is the GI Hub?

We are a private sector entity, not for profit, with a board structure.  We are financed by grant funding, with the aim to help governments unlock private funding for public infrastructure.

How do Public-Private Partnerships work?

The strength behind a PPP is that you are creating investment certainty by putting forward a structure which is generally accepted and understood, and backed by legal frameworks which are again generally accepted and understood. The cost of a PPP really depends on how efficient you are in using the structure, but also how you choose to use the structure. So, you don’t have to enter into long term finance for the whole life of the PPP if you don’t want to, if that financial cost is considered to be a concern. There are a number of different ways to use PPPs.  

We are there to advise governments to make sure that when they go into that negotiation they don’t go in and say “what would you, the private sector, like to do for us?”. They go in and say “here’s the service I want, this is the contract, these are the risks, and then we can negotiate from that point”. We are trying to empower them to do that negotiation better.

What is the impact of political cycles on infrastructure planning?

You can get these screeching U-turns between different governments. I quite like the model that they put in place here (Australia), and the model that the UK is putting in place which is similar.

It is to have an independent body, Infrastructure Australia, that looks at infrastructure need and publishes a report on an annual basis saying this is what infrastructure need should be and that includes individual projects. Now the government doesn’t have to sign up to those projects … but effectively every time the government changes if they decide they want a different set of projects they at least have to justify why they are cancelling projects to create the next project.

You can’t take politics out of infrastructure and you can’t take infrastructure out of politics.

What role is technology playing in the infrastructure industry?

Technology is a great unknown in infrastructure at the moment and it’s a great risk in infrastructure at the moment. If you look at decision making that’s going on in investors they are becoming increasingly interested in two areas, redundancy of stranded assets and sustainability. They recognize that if they are going to get 30 years of dividends from their projects it’s best they take a project which works, fits with the local population, and provides for a need. On the technology side, … if you’re building a road are you building a road that you still see important and useful if everyone is using driverless car? Is it a road that’s going to be overtaken by some sort of technology?

What is GI Hub’s new online tool –  InfraCompass?

One of the concerns or difficulties for a country is working out why it’s not necessarily succeeding in terms of infrastructure delivery. The basis of InfraCompass is enabling countries to see what other countries are doing well in infrastructure delivery.

InfraCompass, which is an online platform, allows you to go in and look at the performance of that country in six categories key to infrastructure delivery.

This allows you to go in and look at your own country and then compare to five or six other countries. If a country wants to spend money on policy, it can look at InfraCompass and it will tell them where that policy dollar is best spent.

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Ringside seat at the Barangaroo Reserve for the NYE fireworks

By Kaori Takahashi, Bureau Chief for Nikkei Inc

On 31 December 2016, the Barangaroo Delivery Authority on behalf of the New South Wales government, welcomed around 12,000 people, including members of the FCA, at the sold-out New Year’s eve event at the Barangaroo reserve. FCA members had the best vantage point inside the headland park for the midnight fireworks.

The sloping lawns were swarming with people as soon as the gates were thrown open at 6 pm.  I was struck by the level of security at the event. The visitors were organised into 10 orderly queues to pass through security checks, before entering the spectator area. Security guards requested us to empty all water bottles before entering. We were allowed to refill them only once inside the reserve.

Barangaroo Reserve is on the north-western waterfront of the Sydney CBD and is billed as the city`s newest entertainment and lifestyle hub, developed from humble beginnings as a container port in the 1970s. FCA members were taken on a tour of the reserve in 2015, when the space was still under construction. Now, green lawns and sandstones line the harbour side, and glossy commercial buildings, almost completed, stretch skyward.

While partygoers danced around us and families enjoyed harbour side entertainment and  food stalls, we relaxed on a picnic blanket watching the year’s last sunset while waiting for the fireworks to begin. At the stroke of 12am, vibrant fireworks illuminated the city skyline, shooting upwards from the Harbour Bridge and high rise city buildings and raining down almost over our heads. We and our fellow spectators cheered and applauded through the 12-minute spectacle.

It was an amazing experience to herald the New Year from one of Sydney’s newest public gardens.

Grand feast marks 2016 finale

Subel BhandariSubel Bhandari: I don’t usually win prizes at events. Sydney seems to be doing me a favour. I was very happy to win a dinner for two at Zaffran Indian restaurant. My wife has just arrived in Sydney so we are planning to use the voucher soon. Sydney, in general, has developed an amazing taste for authentic cuisine. Zaffran takes it up a notch by being innovative with its exquisite food; Rose Creme Brulee, for example, is embellished with contemporary aroma and exotic flavours. It’s a bit like Master Chef meets Indian ammi’s kitchen. Slightly expensive, but the price is right for a celebratory feast as the dishes are sapid and sumptuous. The view of the harbour and the city skyline and the staff, who were very willing to accommodate dietary restrictions, only make the whole affair an event to remember.


Raj Suri with his prize by Neena Bhandari

Raj Suri: As a member of the FCA for the past 15 years, the annual Christmas dinner is a special one. Usually this is the event where we all get together with our partners for the end of the year catch up and also get to meet new FCA members from around the world. The venue choice and the food is always great along with the relaxed FCA atmosphere of friends and partners. This time was no different. It was great to catch up with friends from the world of news and also from outside the media industry. The welcome drinks, three course Indian grand feast with the presentation by the master chef, Vikrant Kapoor, at the Zaffran restaurant at Sydney’s iconic Darling Harbour. There were lucky draw prizes sponsored by Tourism Australia, Cellar Masters and Zaffran. A great evening spent with colleagues and their families. The only unusual experience was that for the first time I won a lucky draw prize at the FCA! A Gift Wine Voucher from Cellar Masters that will come in very handy during these long summer holidays!


Thorsten Joses: I won the Tourism Australia sponsored prize. I am hoping to use the return airfare for two to Ningaloo Reef.


FCA members quiz Foreign & Trade Ministers

Fifteen members, on the FCA-DFAT Canberra trip, had the opportunity to meet and discuss policy issues with Julie Bishop, Minister for Foreign Affairs; Steven Ciobo, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment; Ray Marcelo, DFAT Assistant Secretary, Parliamentary and Media Branch; Andrew Goledzinowski, Ambassador for People Smuggling and Human Trafficking; Lisa Rauter, DFAT First Assistant Secretary, InnovationXchange; Paul Foley, Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism; Glenva Parker, Acting Assistant Secretary Strategic Policy, Department of Defence; Stephen Alexander, Deputy Commander, Australian Border Force; and Rear Admiral Peter Laver, Commander Maritime Border Command. The members also attended Question Time in the Australian House of Representatives.

Q&A with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop [© Hiroki Ijima]


Q&A with Trade Minister Steven Ciobo [© Hiroki Ijima]


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Why there’s nothing like Australia?

Our sponsor, Tourism Australia is the Australian Government agency responsible for promoting Australia internationally as a world-class destination for business and leisure. The organisation seeks to promote the country internationally through a broad range of targeted trade and consumer marketing activities – all underpinned by a consistent global campaign message: There’s nothing like Australia.

Tourism Australia’s Managing Director John O’Sullivan provided an update on Australian tourism’s performance, which continues to grow to record levels, to 17 FCA members who attended the luncheon briefing at the newly opened, Primus Hotel on Pitt Street, Sydney. He shared how the industry is tracking against its Tourism 2020 goal of growing overnight visitor expenditure to more than $115 billion annually by the end of the decade.

Tourism Australia is the Australian Government agency responsible for promoting Australia internationally as a world-class destination for business and leisure. The organisation seeks to promote the country internationally through a broad range of targeted trade and consumer marketing activities – all underpinned by a consistent global campaign message There’s nothing like Australia.

John’s presentation can be viewed on