About

More than 100 Australians are stranded in New Caledonia as riots continue

Share
The Australian Government says it's working with local governments to organise additional flights to return citizens.
Over 100 Australians are waiting to be evacuated from New Caledonia’s capital of Nouméa amid ongoing riots.

Over 100 Australians are waiting to be evacuated from New Caledonia’s capital of Nouméa amid ongoing riots.

The French territory is about 1,500 kilometres east of Queensland. Public unrest broke out after the French Government announced changes to local voting rules.

Around 300 Australians in New Caledonia registered for evacuation assistance from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong said 187 Australians have been evacuated, but the Government doesn’t yet have “clearances” for additional flights.

Context

A state of emergency was declared in New Caledonia when violent protests broke out earlier this month. The death toll from the violence has risen to six, while hundreds have been injured.

Unrest followed France’s lower house passing a bill to allow French residents who’ve lived in New Caledonia for 10 years to vote in local elections. It still needs final approval from both houses.

The island’s Indigenous Kanak people, who make up about 40% of New Caledonia’s population, argue the bill will threaten their political influence, and expand French authority.

Bringing home Australians

A state of emergency was declared in New Caledonia when violent protests broke out earlier this month. The death toll from the violence has risen to six, while hundreds have been injured.

Unrest followed France’s lower house passing a bill to allow French residents who’ve lived in New Caledonia for 10 years to vote in local elections. It still needs final approval from both houses.

The island’s Indigenous Kanak people, who make up about 40% of New Caledonia’s population, argue the bill will threaten their political influence, and expand French authority.

A state of emergency was declared in New Caledonia when violent protests broke out earlier this month. The death toll from the violence has risen to six, while hundreds have been injured.

Unrest followed France’s lower house passing a bill to allow French residents who’ve lived in New Caledonia for 10 years to vote in local elections. It still needs final approval from both houses.

The island’s Indigenous Kanak people, who make up about 40% of New Caledonia’s population, argue the bill will threaten their political influence, and expand French authority.

France’s Response

French President Emmanuel Macron has landed in New Caledonia for meetings with local authorities.

The French Government says it’s willing to participate in talks about the region’s future, but is unlikely to rush a decision to reverse the bill.

Macron said he intended to “stand by the people” of New Caledonia.

“The return to peace, calm and security is the top priority. We will tackle the most sensitive political issues to discuss the future of New Caledonia,” Macron said.

Local Voices

The Front de Liberation Nationale Kanak et Socialiste (FLNKS) is New Caledonia’s largest pro-independence political group.

FLNKS spokesperson Jimmy Naouna told Reuters the group wants the French Government to scrap its planned voting changes.

“We are expecting that if [Macron] travels to Kanak he will make some strong announcement that he is withdrawing this electoral bill, but if he is just coming here as a provocation that might just turn bad.”

Become smarter in three minutes

Get the daily email that makes reading the news actually enjoyable. Stay informed, for free.

Be the smart friend in your group chat

Join thousands of young Aussies and get our 5 min daily newsletter on what matters in your world.

It’s easy. It’s trustworthy. It’s free.