Chelsea Manning says the denial of her n visa is a political decision.Convicted US whistleblower Chelsea Manning has called the n government’s decision on delaying her a visa to enter the country politically motivated.
The former soldier – who served seven years in prison for leaking classified military and diplomatic documents – will conduct her entire n speaking tour via video link after being blocked from arrival on “character” grounds.
Ms Manning questioned how far-right speakers such as Milo Yiannopoulos and Lauren Southern could be allowed into when she couldn’t.
“Obviously it’s a selective process to make political decisions and they seem to think allowing right-wing extremists in is okay … and then going after people for having legitimate political views,” Ms Manning told reporters via phone on Thursday.
“I’ve repeatedly criticised the n immigration policy prior to this political decision so it should be unsurprising that there might be a difference in how the policy is applied to someone that has unquestioning support to the establishment.”
The Department of Home Affairs is yet to make a decision on Ms Manning’s visa, but the delay has not left enough time for her to speak in person on Friday in Melbourne and Brisbane next week.
The department has repeatedly said it does not comment on individual cases, but all non-citizens entering must meet character requirements set out in Section 501 of the Migration Act where a visa may be declined if a person does not pass the “character test”.
The transgender activist has been granted a work visa to visit New Zealand, where she will talk in Wellington and Auckland this weekend.
She has previously visited Germany, Sweden, Italy, and Denmark after being granted clemency from her 35-year prison sentence in 2017 by then-president Barack Obama.
Despite the setback, Ms Manning said she wouldn’t be deterred from visiting in the future as she wants to experience the country, not just for work purposes.
Ms Manning’s legal team has also released a statement on her behalf, condemning the non-action on the visa application.
“The n government’s efforts to block Chelsea from attending her speaking tour are shameful and chilling to the free speech rights of ns,” the statement said.
“Through its actions, the n government now stands alone in the world by attempting to deny its citizens an opportunity to similarly engage with Chelsea in dialogue about issues of crucial interest to the public.”
A Change苏州桑拿 petition pleading for Ms Manning to be allowed into has received more than 20,000 signatures.