09 Mar ‘Boring’ and ‘crude’ but Milo to get his visa
Far-right firebrand Milo Yiannopoulos is set to be allowed into Australia despite $50,000 in debts to Victoria Police, with Immigration Minister David Coleman preparing to intervene in his case.
It is understood Mr Coleman is not convinced by a list of reasons drawn up by the Department of Home Affairs to deny Mr Yiannopoulos a visa, including riots during his 2017 Australian tour and the unpaid $50,000 bill. It is not yet clear when Mr Yiannopoulos will arrive, but he intends to tour before the expected May federal election.
Mr Coleman’s spokeswoman said the minister would not comment on individual cases.
The decision to give the British alt-right celebrity a visa will follow weeks of pressure on Mr Coleman’s office from conservative MPs such as One Nation’s Pauline Hanson.
Two federal Liberal MPs also told The Weekend Australian they were concerned that banning Mr Yiannopoulos would be a blow to freedom of speech.
Victorian MP Tim Wilson, a former human rights commissioner, said he had approached Mr Coleman about Mr Yiannopoulos’s visa situation.
“Milo is a boring, unimaginative, self-absorbed attention-seeker of questionable character,” Mr Wilson said.
“But free speech is for everyone, hence I was surprised by the news and have raised it with the minister.”
Victorian Liberal senator James Patterson, who also criticised Mr Yiannopoulos for being “crude and anti-intellectual”, said barring him would send the wrong message.
“The fact that a speaker might attract protests is not a good reason to deny them a visa,” he said. “To do so would hand a right of veto over our freedom to hear ideas to protesters.”
This article originally appeared in The Australian.