A word from the Ambassador
I am looking forward to my first Ramadan in the UAE. It is a special time of the year when people take time to reflect and spend time with their families and friends. By fasting, and through acts of charity, Ramadan encourages Muslims to remember those less fortunate than themselves. It is also a time for us to acknowledge again that Muslim Australians are an integral part of our Australian family. All countries are strongest when diverse groups work together and when cultural and religious differences can be accommodated with mutual respect. For those looking to access the Embassy and our services, we will maintain normal working hours during Ramadan.
We are in a relatively quiet period for visits from Australia due in large part to the federal election that will take place on 2 July. Australians in Abu Dhabi and Dubai will be able to vote at the Embassy or Consulate General from 20-30 June – it’s important to note that we won’t be open for voting on the election day itself. Unfortunately, if you aren’t enrolled to vote, it is now too late for this election. Online applications for a postal vote (for those already registered) are available on the Australian Electoral Commission website. Your application for a postal vote must be received by the AEC by 29 June 2016. For more details on how to vote please check in at the Embassy website.
Part of the steep learning curve that I have been on since I arrived in January has been using my twitter account. I try and use it to give a sense of some of the activities the Embassy is involved with including events and promoting Australian stories and of course to pass on important information. My handle is @ausambuae and I encourage all of you to follow me there and use it to stay in touch (and boost my numbers please!)
Speaking of events, we held an exhibition of indigenous art at my house on 26 May called Yiwarra Kuju: the Canning Stock Route. It was an exhibition of images by Aboriginal artists from land around the traditional Canning Stock Route in Western Australia – at 1850 kms it is the longest historical stock route in the world .It highlighted to me again how important indigenous stories are to Australia and how for too long they were not incorporated into our national story-telling.It was an exhibition I was particularly proud of hosting here in the UAE.
Finally, another important notice is that from 1 July 2016, there will be only one student visa available to study in Australia – the Student visa (subclass 500). More information on this important change, which is aimed at making the whole process simpler can be found at https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Stud/changes-student-visa