SYDNEY, Australia (May. 16)
In a ruling hailed by Jewish groups, the Australian Federal Court upheld the government’s decision to ban Holocaust-denier David Irving from entering the country.
The court struck down the arguments put forward by Peter Bates, lawyer for the British writer, who said his client had been “denied natural justice” and that the ban was the result of a government acting improperly in response to Jewish community lobbying.
A trial had revealed that the Prime Minister’s Office urged Immigration Minister Gerry Hand to keep Irving out of the country, on the basis that such a visit would antagonize community relations.
It was shown, though, that the country’s security agency, ASIO, indicated it did not oppose his entry and that the immigration minister’s own department recommended that the Irving visit be approved.
Nevertheless, the court apparently heeded the testimony from the lawyer representing the newly elected immigration minister, Sen. Nick Bolkus, who told the court that Irving was legally refused entry on the grounds that his views created disturbances and could lead to violence.
He also noted that Irving had been deported from Canada and convicted in a German court since his last visit to Australia.
The Executive Council of Australian Jewry said it was “pleased the minister’s decision had not been overturned.”
Stephen Smith, federal member for the seat of Perth, welcomed the decision, saying the government “should do everything we can to avoid racism and incitement to racial disharmony and particularly, in this case, anti-Semitic activity.”