The Australian Home Affairs Department has blocked the visa application of Gavin McInnes, the founder of the US far-right group the Proud Boys, after he failed the character test required to enter Australia, according to Australian broadcaster ABC.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Home Affairs said in a statement carried by ABC on Friday that the character test was mandatory for non-citizens who have decisive opinions.
“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,” the statement said.
The report followed an online petition, which called on the Immigration Minister David Coleman to ban Gavin McInnes from visiting the country in February 2019 for a speaking tour.
The petition, which was signed by more than 81,000 people, was founded by Nyadol Nyuon, a lawyer. Along with other activists and Labour MPs, Nyuon delivered the petition to Parliament House in the capital of Canberra.
“More than 80,000 Australians … refuse to turn a blind eye to this clear record of violence incitement, and the violence of the Proud Boys,” ABC reported Nyuon as saying on Friday.
The Proud Boys were founded by Mr McInnes in 2016, and describe themselves as “a pro-Western fraternal organisation for men who refuse to apologise for creating the modern world; aka Western Chauvinists”.
Earlier this month, McInnes, who has been banned from Twitter, announced he was “reluctantly” cutting all ties to the Proud Boys.
US law enforcement agency, the FBI, has designated the group an “extremist group with ties to white nationalism”.