'Provocateur' Geert Wilders will get Australian visa, says minister
Tuesday 02 October 2012
Australia will not refuse MP and anti-Islam campaigner Geert Wilders a visa, immigration minister Chris Bowen said on Tuesday in a radio interview.
Wilders was due in Australia later this month to give two speeches at the invitation of an Australian anti-Islam group. On Monday the Telegraaf reported he had delayed his trip until next year because his visa application was taking so long to process.
Bouwen told ABC radio the visa application procedure had taken longer than usual because 'we had to find a balance between our freedom of expression and his rather extreme views'.
The minister said Wilders is a provocateur who would like nothing more than to be refused a visa so he could become a cause célèbre. 'I think our society is robust enough to deal with him without using the blunt axe of refusal,' he said.
The visa could still take some time to process, according to the Telegraaf, while background checks are carried out.
Wilders was originally invited to speak in Sydney and Melbourne but the organisers say there is so much interest in what he has to say, they are planning a third speech in Perth.
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