Kanye should not be allowed entry to Australia: Dutton

Kanye should not be allowed entry to Australia: Dutton

January 24, 2023

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton says he would block the entry to Australia of the musician formerly known as Kanye West, who has tarnished his reputation and squandered business deals in recent months by attacking Jewish people, praising Adolf Hitler, and airing right-wing conspiracy theories.

Prominent Jewish community leaders are pushing for the Albanese government to reject a potential visa application from rapper and designer Ye, who is rumoured to be keen to meet the Melbourne-based family of his new Australian partner.

Ye has been banned from social media outlets in recent months.Credit:Evan Agostini

It is unclear if Ye plans to travel to Australia. The Herald Sun reported on Monday that the man often heralded as a musical genius wanted to meet relatives of Bianca Censori, the Melbourne-raised 27-year-old revealed earlier this month to be in a relationship with Ye.

A federal government spokeswoman said Immigration Minister Andrew Giles was unable to comment on individual cases and could neither confirm nor deny if an application had been lodged. “All non-citizens must meet, and continue to meet, requirements set out in the Migration Act, including security and character requirements,” the spokeswoman said.

Asked about the prospect of Ye applying for a visa in an interview with Neil Mitchell on 3AW on Tuesday, Dutton, a former Home Affairs minister under Scott Morrison, said the American’s comments about Jewish people were “disgraceful, his conduct and his behaviour is appalling and he’s not a person of good character”.

“ I’ve got to say, my inclination would be not to allow him in. The minister’s got a lot to weigh up, but I must say my instinct would be if I was that decision maker, I think there are better people we could welcome in.”

Peter Wertheim, co-chief executive of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, wrote to Giles to advocate for Ye’s exclusion from Australia. “Unfortunately, because of his status as a celebrity musician, West has the capacity to exercise enormous influence over younger people,” Wertheim’s letter stated.

“In the event that West was allowed to enter or to remain in Australia, there is a significant risk that he would: vilify a segment of the Australian community (namely the Australian Jewish community, and First Nations Australians); or incite discord in the Australian community or in a segment of that community (namely those who are hostile to Jews and/or First Nations Australians).”

Another Jewish community advocate, the Anti-Defamation Commission’s Dvir Abramovich, said Ye should not be let into the country because he was an “unrepentant Holocaust denier, who likes to hang out with white supremacists, who issued death threats against the Jewish community, who says he loves Nazis and admires Hitler”.

In the final few months of 2022, Ye made a long list of incendiary claims in interviews with some mainstream outlets and multiple podcasts – including that of well-known denier of the Sandy Hook mass shooting, Alex Jones – that often host conspiracy theorists. His erratic and inflammatory statements spurred concern about his mental health.

Former immigration department official Abul Rizvi.Credit:Liv Cameron

In November, he dined with former US president Donald Trump and white supremacist Nick Fuentes. Trump distanced himself from Fuentes but Ye has not done so.

Unproven rumours circulated on social media and Melbourne radio on Monday that Ye was spotted at the popular A1 Lebanese bakery and red Rooster in Melbourne’s inner-north.

Abul Rizvi, the former deputy secretary of the immigration department, said if Ye was hoping to come to Australia, it was probable he would have applied for a family or visitor visa.

He said a prominent anti-Semite was denied a visa in the 90s but the person was blocked because they had been formally charged with the offence of Holocaust denial in Europe. Rizvi said Ye’s expression of distasteful views may not be sufficient grounds for refusal.

However, Rizvi said the potential for incitement to violence could provide adequate grounds. In December, Elon Musk said Ye had been banned from Twitter for violating “our rule against incitement to violence”.

Rizvi said Ye’s application may have a better chance of succeeding because he is not scheduled to hold shows or speak at any events. Giles could seek a guarantee from Ye’s lawyers that he would not air anti-Semitic views, Rizvi said.

“It’s not a simple decision for the minister,” Rizvi said adding that Ye’s presence could spur demonstrations hosted by groups that may sympathise with Ye, such as neo-Nazis.

“Over the last decade or so, many people with hateful views have entered the country. It’s usually the question of violence that tips it over.”

Cut through the noise of federal politics with news, views and expert analysis from Jacqueline Maley. Subscribers can sign up to our weekly Inside Politics newsletter here.

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