29 October 2012

Tyson's Australia visa row resumes as women's group protests

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The decision to grant former boxing champion Mike Tyson an Australia visa has erupted once more after a women's group protested.

Australia visa

Mike Tyson will travel to Australia next month to give motivational speeches.

The former world heavyweight champion is embarking on a worldwide tour giving motivational speeches centred on his life and career. Tyson was supposed to visit Australia and New Zealand has part of the tour but ran into difficulties with his New Zealand and Australia visa applications.

The former champion was initially granted a New Zealand visa before the decision was retracted due to the former boxer's 1992 conviction for rape. New Zealand immigration law stipulates that visa applicants are ineligible for visas if they have served more than five years in prison.

Tyson was convicted of the 1991 rape of Desiree Washington and sentenced to six years in prison; however, he was released after three.

A similar debate to grant Tyson a visa raged on in Australia but the former champion was eventually granted a visa.

However, Denele Crozier of Women's Health New South Wales says he should not be allowed to enter the country, particularly to give motivational speeches.

"I'm quite surprised that he's being billed as this extraordinary person and a key note speaker and motivational," said Ms Crozier.

"I don't think it helps Australia in anyway shape or form.

"I think it gives kids the wrong [message]: it's OK, as long as you're rich and famous, to be an absolute bastard."

Tyson's visit however is championed by another charity. Reverend Bill Crews of the Uniting Church says the former prize-fighter's visit will raise approximately AU$250,000 (£160,000) for Aboriginal children.

"We deal with kids who are the most needy and the most desperate and the ones who fall between the cracks," said Reverend Crews.

"We deal with kids who probably are like Mike Tyson was when he was growing up.

"Those kids will listen to people like Mike Tyson before they listen to do-gooders like me."

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications with the Australian Embassy.

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