Calls For Proud Boys Founder To Be Banned From Australia
Labor has called on the federal government to deny a visa to the founder of a violent far-right group who plans to visit Australia on a speaking tour next month, saying he poses a "danger" to the community.
Gavin McInnes is the leader of the American group Proud Boys, an alt-right "western chauvinist" group that admits only men, and appears to glorify violence. The organisation has been classed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Centre.
"Rank-and-file Proud Boys and leaders regularly spout white nationalist memes and maintain affiliations with known extremists. They are known for anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric. Proud Boys have appeared alongside other hate groups at extremist gatherings like the 'Unite the Right' rally in Charlottesville," SPLC said on its website.
Proud Boys have repeatedly been in news for being part of heated street brawls during political rallies in the United States. The group was most recently in headlines after a violent brawl in New York City in mid-October, where at least five members of the Proud Boys were arrested over assault and riot charges.
"We will kill you. That's the Proud Boys in a nutshell," McInnes once said on his internet talk show.
"We look nice, we seem soft... but we will assassinate you."
McInnes has also said on his show: "We need more violence from the Trump people, Trump supporters. Choke a motherf**ker. Choke a b**ch. Choke a tranny. Get your fingers around a windpipe.”
McInnes is planning to visit Australia in November.
With a speaking tour including dates in Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney and Perth, the promoter claimed McInnes "plans to bring his unique blend of comedy and politics to the stage for an unforgettable evening." Tickets range from $85 to $495.
ten daily understands McInnes has been granted a visa to visit the country by Australian authorities. But an online petition has sprung up to call for him to be banned from Australia, while the Labor opposition said he should be denied entry.
Labor's immigration spokesman Shayne Neumann has written to immigration minister David Coleman, asking for McInnes to be barred.
"Gavin McInnes has repeatedly and publicly advocated for violence against women and has pledged to “assassinate” his enemies. Both this individual, and the group he represents, were suspended from Twitter in August for violating the social media platform’s policy prohibiting violent extremist groups," Neumann wrote in the letter.
"As you would be aware, Labor strongly supports the refusal or cancellation of visas of non-citizens on character or criminal grounds and the removal of criminals from Australia under Section 501 of the Migration Act."
Neumann wrote that the minister has the power to refuse visas on numerous grounds, including the risk that a visitor would vilify the community, incite discord, or represent a "danger" to Australia.
"Given the significant risk Gavin McInnes poses to the Australian community, I am asking you to use your powers under Section 501 of the Migration Act to refuse his access to Australia," Neumann said.
A spokesperson for the Department of Home Affairs told ten daily it does not comment on individual visa cases.
"All non-citizens entering Australia must meet the character requirements set out in the Migration Act 1958... A person can fail the character test for a number of reasons, including but not limited to where a non-citizen has a substantial criminal record or where their conduct represents a risk to the Australian community or segments of the Australian community," the spokesperson 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."
A change.org petition calling for McInnes to be barred from Australia has attracted nearly 2500 signatures at time of writing, after being started on Wednesday night.
"Gavin McInnes is coming to Australia on a 'comedy tour'. Gavin McInnes is no 'provocateur'. He is not a comedian. This is not satire. It is not about free speech. He is dangerous and should not be allowed in Australia," petition founder and lawyer Nyadol Nyuon wrote.
"The thought of Gavin McInnes coming to this country to spread hate is extremely concerning. The fact that his hate speech is often accompanied by violence which is extremely concerning."
"A man who encourages violence, who formed a gang labelled a hate group and that serially engages in violence should not be allowed into Australia. We should not allow Australia to become the last hope of such a group."
"We should make it clear that: No, Australia is not the last hope for a violent extremist."