Tommy Robinson’s A$995-ticket Australia tour postponed because he hasn’t been granted visa

Anti-Islam activist’s tour was scheduled to start on Friday

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Correspondent
Tuesday 29 January 2019 13:36
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Tommy Robinson addresses supporters outside court after case referred to Attorney General

Tommy Robinson’s planned speaking tour of Australia has been postponed for a second time because he has not been granted a visa.

Supporters have paid up to A$995 (£563) for tickets to see the anti-Islam activist, alongside Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes and Milo Yiannopoulos, in five cities.

Organisers of the Deplorables tour, which was due to start in Perth on Friday, said Robinson’s application was still being considered by authorities.

Mr McInnes has been refused a visa, with the denial being appealed, and Mr Yiannopoulos is awaiting a decision.

The tour was originally scheduled for December but had to be shifted to February after Robinson planned a “Brexit betrayal” march in London on the same date.

Australian magazine publishers Penthouse, which organised the event, sent an email to ticket holders on Tuesday accusing critics of “trying to disrupt” it with petitions and campaigns.

It said they were “confident” that Mr McInnes would be granted a visa and that to “avoid a similar scenario occurring with Milo and Tommy, we are working closely with our lawyers to ensure their visas are processed smoothly”.

Tickets have been reissued for dates in March, when organisers said they would “fight for the rights of our speakers to be heard”.

It comes after Robinson’s planned trip to Washington to address Republican members of the US congress was cancelled because his US visa was not granted in time for an event in November.

A spokesperson from the Australian Department of Home Affairs told The Independent they could not comment on individual cases but outlined strict requirements.

“All non-citizens entering Australia must meet the character requirements set out in the Migration Act 1958 prior to the grant of any visa,” a statement said.

“For visitors who may hold controversial views, any risk they may pose will be balanced against Australia’s well-established freedom of speech and freedom of beliefs, amongst other relevant considerations.”

Australian authorities say only people with no substantial criminal record – meaning prison terms totalling more than 12 months – and showing “good general behaviour” are likely to meet the requirements.

Robinson’s extensive criminal record includes convictions for violence, drug possession, public order offences and fraud, with prison sentences totalling several years.

The 36-year-old was jailed for breaking reporting restrictions on linked grooming trials in May but freed on appeal over procedural failings in August.

Robinson is awaiting a decision on his contempt case from the attorney general

Tickets are still being sold for A$85 (£48) for general entry, A$295 (£167) for a “VIP meet and greet” including a photograph with Robinson, and A$495 (£280) for a “backstage pass” including an after-show party.

The most expensive option comes in at A$995 (£563) per head, which buys “a pre-show dinner with the Deplorables, champagne reception and VIP seating for the show”.

Organisers have taken precautions in a bid to avoid a repeat of protests and boycotts that have disrupted engagements by other right-wing figures by withholding the exact location of the events until 24 hours before they take place.

Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, announced the tour to Facebook followers in October but has since made little mention of his planned trip.

The English Defence League founder has subsequently been made Ukip’s official adviser on grooming gangs and prisons, and started up a new media company with his wife.

The tour could generate significant profits for Robinson after his fundraising activities were hit by a ban from PayPal and his official website was taken down.

He has also been threatened with legal action over alleged defamation by the family of a Syrian refugee who was attacked at school.

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