Australia denies visa to Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes for upcoming tour with Tommy Robinson

Mr McInnes failed the character test required to enter him into the country

Sarah Harvard
New York
Friday 30 November 2018 20:53
Gavin McInnes addresses a crowd during a conservative rally in Berkeley, California, in April 2017
Gavin McInnes addresses a crowd during a conservative rally in Berkeley, California, in April 2017

The founder of far-right group Proud Boys, Gavin McInnes, had his visa application denied after failing a character test to enter the country for his upcoming “the Deplorables” tour in Australia with English Defence League (EDL) founder Tommy Robinson.

A few weeks ago, the Proud Boy was reportedly told that it was more than likely his visa application would have been blocked, citing that he was considered to be of “bad character.” The last day for Mr McInnes to appeal the visa denial was Friday.

A Department of Home Affairs spokesperson said all non citizens entering the country has to meet or exceed character requirements before being granted a visa.“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,” they said.

Mr McInnes has already been met with opposition from Australians prior to their speaking tour in the country. On Thursday, more than 80,000 Australian signed a petition to block the Proud Boys founder from entering the Land Down Under, citing that Mr McInnes has “called on his supporters to choke, beat and ‘blow off’ the heads of political opponents.”

“We should not allow Australia to become the final refuge of extremist groups, some who think that this place is their last hope,” the petition said.

The Anti-Defamation Commission, the country’s leading civil rights group, applauded the Australian government’s decision to deny Mr McInnes a visa.

“This moral decision is a strong affirmation that the noxious rhetoric often spewed by Mr McInnes will never be tolerated in Australia,” chairman Dvir Abramovich said in a statement. “At a time when anti-Semitism and far-right activism in our nation are on the increase, we should not be providing such individuals with an opportunity to promote their divisive and dangerous agenda which runs counter to our core values.”

Earlier this month, Mr McInnes recently severed ties with the Proud Boys—who the FBI are believed to have designated an extremist organisation—in hopes of alleviating some of the legal scrutiny placed on the group. Mr McInnes has repeatedly denied that the Proud Boys are a white nationalist or “alt-right” organization

A number of apparent members of the Proud Boys have been arrested and charged in recent weeks over an alleged street brawl in Manhattan In early October.

Video footage from the New York Police Department shows several members of the group apparently fighting with anti-fascist demonstrators, who had come to the Metropolitan Republican Club to protest a speech from “Proud Boys” founder Gavin McInnes.

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The Proud Boys describe itself as a group of men defending and upholding “Western chauvinist values,”

Mr McInnes, and his right-wing comrade Mr Robinson, whose legal name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, have scheduled “the Deplorables” speaking tour in Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Adelaide, and the Gold Coast early next year. The tour has already been delayed for several months when Mr Robinson scheduled a pro-Brexit protest in December, which was on the same day of the Australian tour’s originals start date.

Mr Robinson has reportedly not submitted a visa application yet.

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