Australia

Australia rejects far-right Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes' visa application

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The founder of the Proud Boys was due to speak in Australia as part of The Deplorables tour.

Gavin McInnes, the founder of the far-right group the Proud Boys, has had his visa application rejected by the Home Affairs Department.

Mr McInnes was due to headline The Deplorables tour across Australia early next year.

Gavin McInnes, center, founder of the far-right group Proud Boys, is surrounded by supporters after speaking at a rally in Berkeley.
Gavin McInnes, center, founder of the far-right group Proud Boys, is surrounded by supporters after speaking at a rally in Berkeley.
AP

On Thursday, protesters rallied in Canberra delivering a petition that reached 81,000 signatures calling on the government to block Mr McInnes' entry into the country.

Following news of the visa refusal, several activists who organised the rally tweeted their delight.

The alt-right leader Gavin McInnes attends an Act for America rally in 2017.
The alt-right leader Gavin McInnes attends an Act for America rally in 2017.
Getty Images

A Home Affairs statement confirmed the department was "aware of this case".

"All non-citizens entering Australia must meet the character requirements set out in the Migration Act 1958 (the Act), prior to the grant of any visa," the statement read.

"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. "

Home Affairs does not comment on individual cases, a spokesperson said.

Shadow Immigration spokesperson Shayne Neumann lobbied the government and immigration minister to “refuse” Mr McInnes’ access into Australia, after the tour was announced.

Mr McInnes established the Proud Boys in the midst of the 2016 presidential election. The group is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The group was recently classified as an "extremist group with white nationalist ties", according to a report by the Clark County Sheriff's Office.

The group describes itself as "western chauvinists" but deny any affiliation with the racist "alt-right", according to the SPLC.

Gavin McInnes in an Alt Right protest against Muslim activist Linda Sarsour.
Gavin McInnes in an Alt Right protest against Muslim activist Linda Sarsour.

The male-only group has chapters across US, Australia, Canada and the UK.

In an interview with the New York Times in 2003, Mr McInnes said: “I don't want our culture diluted. We need to close the borders now and let everyone assimilate to a Western, white, English-speaking way of life.''

The Proud Boys website states: “I am a Western Chauvinist and I refuse to apologise for creating the modern world.”

Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes will not be coming to Australia.
Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes will not be coming to Australia.
Dateline

In November, SBS News spoke with Tasmanian University lecturer Kaz Ross, who said the group fed on publicity and would likely gain followers if their leader toured Australia next year.

“We’ve just started to see men wearing Proud Boys signature polo shirts, turning up at demonstrations and protests in very, very small timid kind of numbers,” she told SBS News.

“So with the proposed tour of Australia by the leader Gavin McInnes, we would be expecting to see the Proud Boys really having a boost of membership and starting to come into their own - in numbers - in public.”

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