Because Russia, when located somewhere else.
Does any other country have similar 'experiences' with Russian diplomats?
Foreign embassies flout Canberra parking laws, amassing thousands of dollars in unpaid fines
about 7 hours ago
Foreign diplomats in Canberra owe almost $60,000 in unpaid parking fines, some dating back more than 16 years.
- The ACT Government is still chasing unpaid parking fines from diplomats posted to Canberra in 2003
- The worst-offending embassy staff are from Russia, Slovakia, Afghanistan and Romania
- Foreign diplomats are immune from prosecution by Australian authorities but most comply with local laws anyway
From parking in spots reserved for medical staff to not paying for parking in ticketed areas, FOI documents released by the ACT Government show foreign embassies have amassed 423 unpaid parking fines.
Envoys from Russia and Slovakia appear to be the most likely to ignore parking laws: the two countries were responsible for half of all unpaid infringements.
Russian embassy staff alone had failed to pay 175 fines, worth more than $23,000.
The embassy has 15 posted officials in Canberra, though their families and staff can also drive their diplomatic vehicles, as is the case with all embassies.
Under the Vienna convention, emissaries posted to other countries are immune from prosecution by local authorities.
However, the Australian Government asks foreign officials to comply with Australian laws and to follow police directions. Most embassies do, telling their staff to obey traffic rules and pay the penalties if they breach them.
Unpaid fines issued to diplomatic staff as of September 2019.
The protocols that set out how diplomats should behave in Canberra, listed on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's (DFAT) website, say police can stop an envoy's vehicle and ask the driver to take a breath test, but police have no power to arrest or detain foreign staff.
Similarly, parking inspectors can issue fines but ACT courts cannot enforce them.
However, police can prevent a diplomat from continuing to drive "if there is a risk to public safety". In that case, the police "should assist respectfully with appropriate arrangements for the person to travel to their destination".
Government still chasing fines 16 years later
The 423 unpaid fines cover a range of breaches, from parking without paying to using spots reserved for doctors and drivers with disabilities. Eight of the infringements date back to 2003.
The ACT Government continues to record all infringements and send courtesy letters to the city's embassies, regardless of its inability to demand payment.
A spokesperson said the Government "takes all parking offences seriously and works with relevant embassies and consulates … to rectify outstanding infringements".
On Monday, DFAT said it expected all infringements to be paid.
"[DFAT] expects diplomats to obey Australia's laws and to pay fines promptly," a spokesperson said.
"DFAT regularly reminds diplomats they have an obligation to obey Australia's road rules."
The Russian embassy was contacted for comment.
Edited by DougRichards, 23 September 2019 - 0635 AM.