The federal government is currently threatening to deny former soldier-turned-whistleblower Chelsea Manning from entering Australia, citing her “substantial criminal record” as the reason behind it.
Manning, who spent seven years in a military prison for sending nearly 750,000 classified military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks, was due to appear at the Sydney Opera House this weekend to talk about human rights, before travelling to Brisbane and Melbourne as well.
She has reportedly been served with a notice of intention to consider refusing her visa under section 501 of the Migration Act, which allows Minister for Immigration David Coleman to refuse anyone entry to Australia if they don’t pass “the character test”.
The government has cited Manning’s “substantial criminal record” as a barrier to her passing the test.
Manning has assured The Guardian that her team “will work it out”, and hasn’t given up on getting into the country.
The organiser of her impending Australian tour, Think Inc, have encouraged Manning’s supporters to lobby Coleman and urge him to grant her a visa.
Many have taken to social media to highlight the government’s hypocrisy in preventing Manning from entering the country, when far more controversial figures have been allowed to tour Australia in recent times.
Last month saw far-right activist Lauren Southern tour the country.
In 2016, she pretended to be trans while reporting on a university rally against a professor’s anti-trans comments, and took to the microphone to defend the professor before being shut down.
And in December last year, Milo Yiannopoulos toured the country, despite reported links to white supremacist and Neo-Nazi groups.
He lashed out at fans on his Facebook page earlier this week after they criticised him for dining lavishly with his husband.