‘Boring’ and ‘crude’ but Milo to get his visa

‘Boring’ and ‘crude’ but Milo to get his visa

Richard Ferguson — The Australian — 9 March 2019


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.

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