Michael Kozoil – Sydney Morning Herald Feb 20, 2019
The Australian government has banned notorious English conspiracy theorist David Icke from entering the country next month for a planned speaking tour.
Among the bizarre claims made by Icke, a former footballer and BBC sports presenter, are that the world is controlled by a cabal of giant shape-shifting reptiles, many of them Jewish, and that a group of elite Jews bankrolled Adolf Hitler and started several wars.
He also tells audiences the September 11 attacks were an inside job organised by “a network that works through government agencies, through organisations like the CIA”.
Icke, 66, was due to tour Australia in March, but the government has now cancelled his visa, banning him from entry. It is understood the decision was made within the past 24 hours.
Immigration Minister David Coleman declined to comment.
In a statement, Icke said he was “shocked and appalled to have received the news earlier today that my visa had been revoked just hours before boarding a flight to Australia”.
“I have been a victim of a smear campaign from politicians who have been listening to special interest groups attempting to discredit my beliefs, my views and my character by spreading lies,” Icke said.
“This knee-jerk reaction to accommodate the people behind this smear campaign has left a sinister mark on Australians, compromising freedom of speech and ideas. This goes further than just me today, but sets a dangerous precedent for citizens who have differing views and are willing to openly express these.”
The government has banned a number of controversial people from entering the country in recent years, including WikiLeaks whistleblower Chelsea Manning and Gavin McInnes, the leader of the far right Proud Boys group.
Jewish groups such as the Anti-Defamation Commission had lobbied Mr Coleman to cancel Icke’s visa. The organisation’s chairman, Dvir Abramovich, congratulated the minister “for heeding our call and declaring in a loud voice that anti-semites and Holocaust deniers will never find a home in Australia”. He called it a “defining moment for who we are as a nation”.
Icke was due to speak to audiences in Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Hobart and Sydney next month in a presentation billed as “four hours that will change your life”.
In his statement, Icke said Mr Coleman had cited his views on vaccinations and climate change among the reasons his visa had been revoked. He also accused Mr Coleman of caving to pressure from a “libellous” article in The Australian newspaper published on Wednesday.
“This is the creation of a blatantly Orwellian totalitarian state,” Icke said.
Josh Burns, Labor’s candidate for the federal seat of Macnamara, also lobbied Mr Coleman and said the minister had finally “made the right call and succumbed to pressure”.
“Given it is barely a month since we had far-right and neo-Nazi rallies in St Kilda, importing more of this sort of hate is something Australia cannot afford,” Mr Burns said.
The Liberal candidate for Macnamara, Kate Ashmor, said she had been “quietly lobbying” Mr Coleman to cancel Icke’s visa as his “abhorrent views have no place in Australia”. She said the decision was “welcome, and affirms the government’s steadfast support for Australia’s Jewish community”.
The seat of Macnamara, formerly known as Melbourne Ports, is currently held by outgoing Labor MP Michael Danby and has a large Jewish population. It will be a highly contested three-cornered race with the Greens at the May election.