It was only a “diary cock-up”, his on-off PA Hel Gower told recently. He did have a visa for Australia, honestly. But it wasn’t, and he doesn’t: Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, will not be touring Oz any time soon, and certainly not with Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes. Because McInnes has been refused a visa, and if he’s been barred, the probability of Lennon getting in is not unadjacent to zero.
He's been refused a visa ...
Their tour, under the banner of “The Deplorables”, had been scheduled for December, but after Lennon then became involved in an anti-Brexit deal protest in London on the 9th of the month - slap bang in the middle of the Australian schedule - the admissions began. Now those dates have been rescheduled for February. But then came the bad news on visas. That’s visas plural, as the ABC has revealed.
“Right-wing provocateur and founder of the Proud Boys group Gavin McInnes has had his visa application blocked by the Home Affairs Department, failing the character test to enter Australia” they reported, also telling “The ABC understands Mr McInnes was notified a few weeks ago that the department was likely to block his visa application because he was judged to be of bad character, and the formal window for him to appeal closed on Friday”.
Yes, the Deplorables tour website is still selling tickets, after changing the dates to February 1st to 10th next year, which are still priced from $85 for “general admission”, through “VIP meet and greet” at $295 and “Backstage pass” at $495, all the way to “Private dinner” at $995. But McInnes won’t be there. That’s partly down to a concerted campaign to have him barred from entering the country.
... and he didn't even apply for one
A petition with 81,000 signatories had been handed in to the Federal Parliament. “Lawyer Nyadol Nyuon, who founded the petition, said the Government's decision was a win for free speech. ‘To have allowed him to come still I think would have made it seem as if the Government had given tacit approval at the very least to these calls for violence against people you don't agree with as a legitimate form of free speech,’ she said. ‘It's not and it should never be.’” She added “McInnes could not possibly have met the character test”.
But what about Lennon? Ms Gower was sure he had a visa for Australia, claiming “He does have a visa, but due to family commitments the date had to be changed, plus he cocked up his diary". Well, maybe not: as the ABC also told, “Mr McInnes was due to tour the country early next year, alongside UK far-right activist Tommy Robinson … The ABC understands no visa application has been received for Mr Robinson”.
Perhaps Lennon, or one of his hangers-on, told Ms Gower he had a visa, hence her claim. But if McInnes has failed the “character test”, there is no way Lennon will meet it, with his string of convictions and track record of hate speech, harassment, and unique skill in whipping up the mob. He’s not applied for a visa, because he knows he’ll be refused.
For someone who loves to call “liar” on others, there is an awful lot of deceit and dishonesty surrounding Stephen Yaxley Lennon. I’ll just leave that one there.
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