- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 9, 2019

Australia is expected to let conservative commentator Milo Yiannopoulos enter the country after all despite objections from immigration officials, regional media reported Saturday.

David Coleman, Australia’s minister of immigration, is slated to “personally approve” a visa application submitted on behalf of Mr. Yiannopoulos, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Australian media reported days earlier that Mr. Yiannopoulos, a British citizen, was recently denied a visa by the Department of Home Affairs on character grounds and effectively banned from entering the country.

Mr. Coleman disagreed with the decision and is expected to intervene, however, the newspaper reported.

“Common sense has prevailed after ordinary Australians threw a fit,” Mr. Yiannopoulos told The Washington Times. “American conservatives should take note.”

Scott Morrison, the prime minister of Australia, briefly discussed the situation while addressing reporters in Perth.

“There’s a process that is followed in relation to character issues regarding people who wish to come to Australia and the minister [Coleman] has been following that normal process,” said Mr. Morrison. “There have been decisions taken to date by the department and it is open to the minister to play a role in that process where he believes it is necessary to do some.

“This is just a normal process following through,” Mr. Morrison added. “The minister has allowed that process to go to this point and he’ll make a decision on this issue shortly.”

A former editor for Breitbart News, Mr. Yiannopoulos has come under fire in the U.S. and abroad for controversial comments, including remarks widely considered critical of Islam and feminism, among other subjects. He was permanently banned from Twitter in 2016 for “inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others,” and the following year he was disinvited from the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC, after an interview surfaced of him discussing pedophilia.

Australia media outlets reported on Wednesday this week that immigration officials recently rejected a visa application filed by Mr. Yiannopoulos, 34, amid the Department of Home Affairs warning that his visit could possibly “incite discord in the Australian community or in a segment of that community.”

“Free speech is important in Australia but people have to be responsible for what they say,” Mr. Morrison, the Australian prime minister, said Saturday. “Free speech is actually for Australian citizens, by the way, and I think anyone who comes to Australia should show respect for all Australians, and I would certainly hope that anybody who is coming here would show that respect. From whatever country you come from, if you come to Australia, you come as a visitor.”

“If you come here on a visa and if you commit a crime you’ll go to jail. And after you’ve got out of jail you’ll go home. Now we’ve done that on over 4,000 occasions on people who violated the generosity of Australians in allowing them to come and visit our country,” Mr. Morrison added. “Our tourism industry is one of our greatest employers and we want to see that to continue to thrive and grow as it is. But when people come to our country, we expect them to respect Australia and Australians, our values [and] our multicultural society.”

Australia has previously denied visas to foreigners on character grounds, including WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning and Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes.

Mr. Yiannopoulos previously traveled to Australia in December 2017, where his appearance at an event in Melbourne spurred violent protests and resulted in minor injuries for at least five police officers.

A firey protest that erupted months earlier during a planned appearance by Mr. Yiannopoulos at the University of California, Berkeley, resulted in the cancelation of that event and several others, meanwhile.

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