Reject the visa of Troll Academy speaker Milo Yiannopolous to visit Australia
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We, the signatories, call on Peter Dutton, the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection to immediately revoke the visa of Milos Yiannopoulos who is due to tour Australia in December 2017, under the ‘adverse reaction’ provisions of section 116 of the Migration Act. Yiannopoulos is a self-described troll and has provocatively named his appearances ‘The Troll Academy Tour,’ suggesting he plans to incite hateful speech.
Section 116 (1)(e)(i) provides that the Minister may cancel a visa if:
(e) the presence of its holder in Australia is or may be, or would or might be, a risk to:
(i) the health, safety or good order of the Australian community or a segment of the Australian community; or
(ii) the health or safety of an individual or individuals;
As a self-described misogynist, racist and homophobe, Yiannopolous is guaranteed to have significant opposition. There is a clear risk that members of the public will react adversely to his presence and he is therefore a risk to the “good order of the Australian community.” This is not just speculation but has precedent. At Berkeley University in California in February this year, violent counter-protests were held and Yiannopolous himself had to be protected by security. It is predictable that his visit will be a rallying point for those who hold his views and groups who both support and oppose his visit are likely to clash. His views are hateful and harmful to the “health and safety” of the community at large and many individuals who will hear his views endlessly echoed by those who support such homophobia.
Yiannopolus’s views on those he has labelled as “faggots” in the tour of that name are offensive and guaranteed to cause distress to the LGBTI community, women generally and our multi-cultural community. In short, his presence will distress the majority of Australians.
The Government denied a Visa to Palestinian social media peace activist Bassem Tamimi on April 5 this year on the same grounds. Granting a visa to an activist such as Yiannopolous, who encourages spreading his views in the negative form of trolling, while denying the visa of Tamimi would suggest that free speech is selectively protected.
The Coalition Government promised a ‘respectful debate’ during the Marriage Equality Postal Survey. To allow a visa to be issued to a provocateur who encourages right wing activists to troll on social media while the debate is still happening could encourage those opposed to marriage equality to act in a similar manner. The name of the tour ‘The Troll Academy’ suggests its purpose is to instruct listeners on how to use social media in a harmful way. While the tour dates are well after the postal survey has concluded, the timing of the release of the visa is likely to provoke imitation by supporters of the views and tactics of Yiannopolous.
Those opposed to marriage equality have sought to broaden the issue to unrelated matters such as religious freedom and free speech. Granting a visa to such a provocative figure during the marriage equality survey period could be read as a cynical exercise in stirring a reaction to make the issue about free speech.
The tour is organised through Penthouse magazine. The magazine does not deserve the publicity it is hoping to generate.
We call on you, as the minister responsible, to deny this visa and avoid the distress and community disorder that this visit will generate.
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