Lauren Southern’s Australian Visa Application in Limbo

Australian Politics, Immigration, Rundown

Canadian conservative activist Lauren Southern has had an Australian visa application rejected on the eve of her joint Australian tour with fellow Canadian media commentator Stefan Molyneux. Late last night Sky News Outsiders host Ross Cameron tweeted an email Lauren had received from the Department of Home Affairs advising her that she was not eligible for an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) and instead suggested she apply for a Vistors Visa Subclass 600.

The pair had initially applied for Temporary Activity Visa (subclass 408) which is the most appropriate visa category for their visit as it covers those working in the entertainment industry and those who are here at the invitation of an Australian organisation. Axiomatic Events who are hosting Southern and Molyneux’s tour, its spokesperson Luke Izaac confirmed the ETA was for tourist purposes only.

Izaac told news.com.au that the reason the ETA had been applied for was because the Temporary Activity Visa application had been “stonewalled and stonewalled with no response” for months and that “Her immigration lawyer advised them to get a temporary ETA so she and Stefan can at least be getting the lay of the land, having a look at Sydney Harbour Bridge, [go to] Cairns for a crocodile safari, to immerse themselves in the country before they speak about it, and hope the government comes through with the [408 visa].”

This does not mean that Southern cannot enter Australia as planned but her Temporary Activity Visa application is still in immigration limbo. As a result Southern’s supporters are beginning to bombard Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton’s office stating that if foreigners with criminal records can be allowed in Australia and those that have mock beheaded President Trump (ie Kathy Griffin) then surely someone with no criminal record can be granted a visa.

The Campaign Against Racism and Fascism who have been organising the protests against Southern and Molyneux’s tour commented on the visa developments and stated they would not support Peter Dutton denying her a visa as they do not trust him with the power to deny people entry to Australia based on their political opinions. They instead want people to mobilize at the planned speaking events to provide a counter-narrative to their views.

This latest development comes days after Southern had been denied an automatic entry visa to New Zealand because she had been denied entry to the United Kingdom and her Molyneux had their Auckland speaking venue cancel on them. Southern had been denied entry to the UK earlier this year for planning to distribute ‘Allah is gay’ and Allah is trans’ flyers in the English town of Luton. This decision from the New Zealand authorities however can be overturned.

Southern and Molyneux’s first scheduled Australian event is in Melbourne on July 20 so organisers are engaing in a race against time with their legal team and the Home Affairs office to have their Temporary Activity Visa (subclass 408) applications approved. Dave Pellowe from Axiomatic Events on Saturday began a petition supporting their visa application.