17 November 2008

British BNP leader may not get a visa to visit Australia

The Australian Government could possibly deny the leader of the British National Party Nick Griffin yet another visa to visit Australia, reports the Age.

Mr Griffin, who is the leader of the far-right wing British National Party (BNP), has previous convictions relating to the incitement of racial hatred and has been put on a Movement Alert List.  The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) give all Australian visa applications a full assessment before granting a visa for Australia and on the grounds of Mr Griffin's previous conviction would be taking his application under full review.

 The BNP leader wants to visit Australia to discuss "the demographic genocide … caused by large-scale immigration of people from the Third World"; however, it is felt his presence in the country may encourage more Cronulla-style racial conflict, reports the news provider.  In 2005, the beachfront suburb of Cronulla, south of Sydney, was confronted with race riots that lead to violence and arrests throughout the western suburbs of Sydney.

Darrin Hodges, the NSW head of the extreme Australian Protection Party, is supporting Mr Griffin's trip to Australia.  He said, "Having a full and frank debate was more helpful than not … and suppressing the debate leads to events like Cronulla."

Others have said Australia's commitment to the right of free speech needs to be balanced against the possible repercussions caused in the relatively stable communities.

Matthew Collins, a former member of the British National Party (BNP) but now an anti-fascist monitoring service, has said Australia should be weary of granting Mr Griffins an Australian visa. "Nick Griffin is as dangerous to the community as any radical Islamic preacher."

Jo-anne Schofield, the head of a left-wing Australian group opposed to Mr Griffin's visit, said, "The BNP is very clever at moderating its message to appear more acceptable.  But scratch the surface, they still have a hateful message at their core.  The burden of free speech is carried by the people harmed by his message."

The Government denied Mr Griffin an Australian visa in 1998.  DIAC will not comment on the likely outcome of Mr Griffin's visa, but a spokesperson confirmed the department would thoroughly review his visa application.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their Australian visa application.

Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau.

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