The Dutch Party for Freedom founder Geert Wilders is to attend the launch of Australian Liberty Alliance (ALA), a political party modelled on his own. The decision to grant the Dutch MP a visa to Australia was cleared by the immigration minister, Peter Dutton, last night after being referred up by his department.
Wilders took to Twitter immediately after he learned of the approval to make the announcement himself:
Australian visa has been granted! Look forward visiting Perth for launch new party: Australian Liberty Alliance! pic.twitter.com/O5IHNeUIj5
— Geert Wilders (@geertwilderspvv) October 8, 2015
The founders of the ALA had feared the politician may be unable to attend the launch due to ongoing visa delays. ALA president Debbie Robinson said she was relieved the visa had been issued. According to ABC News she said:
“It’s great news, it’s a big relief because a lot of planning goes into this sort of event and we’re looking forward to meeting up with Mr Wilders. People are looking forward to hear him speak, to hear what he has to say.
“It all comes back to freedom of speech and there are a lot of people who are interested to hear his views on the topic and what’s happening in the Netherlands.”
This is not the first time Wilders has had trouble entering Australia.
In 2012 he was invited to give a series of speeches by the anti-multiculturalism group the Q Society, but his visa application stalled and he was forced to cancel the tour. The delay was due to the Dutch politician being on the Movement Alert List, a database of people of concern to Australia.
He ultimately secured a visa but his 2013 visit to Australia sparked protests. Wilders was vilified in the media not only for trying to warn that Islam as an ideology is a menace to contemporary Western values and freedoms but also for exercising the fundamental right to freedom of speech.
In Perth he was accompanied by WA Police’s dignitary protection unit and a venue where he was due to speak cancelled his booking.
Last week, the department cancelled the visa of American anti-abortion campaigner Troy Newman on concerns about community safety and good order.
The High Court hearing to determine whether Newman would be deported specifically noted concerns the campaigner’s presence in Australia could lead to violent protests like those seen in the United States.
Immigration minister Dutton brushed aside concerns Wilders’ visit to Australia would stir up similar protests, saying delegates from his department take those issues into account.
“They will have a look at the whole history. They will do what is in our best national interest in terms of granting or denying a visa. That is the decision that was made.”
The manifesto of the new party, which will be launched on Tuesday, 20 October in Perth, is summed up this statement on its website:
‘Our Australia stands for individual liberty, small government, Western values, social fairness and an integrated multi-ethnic society. Our Australia has no place for big government, racism, moral relativism, divisive multiculturalism or tolerance for the intolerant. Migrants do not dream of a new life in Australia because we are a Socialist, Islamic or tribal society. Migrants come for the freedom, justice and prosperity only Western civilisation creates.’