US anti-abortion activist Troy Newman has failed in his last minute High Court bid to challenge the revocation of his Australian visa. His visa was revoked days before he was due to tour Australia. Newman has espoused controversial views regarding abortion, suggesting in a co-authored book that persons who seek abortions and doctors who perform them should be executed for murder. Minister for Immigration Peter Dutton cancelled his visa pursuant to s 128 of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth). Section 128 allows the Minister to cancel a visa before the non-citizen holder enters Australia on the basis of the considerations set out in s 116. The relevant consideration in this case was s 116(e)(i): namely, that the presence of the visa holder in Australia might pose a risk to the health, safety or good order of the Australian community or a segment of the Australian community.
Once the visa was cancelled, Newman was prevented from boarding his plane in Denver, but he nonetheless flew to Australia without a valid visa by using a different airline carrier. Upon reaching Australia, Newman was detained, and faced immediate deportation. However, he successfully sought a stay of deportation while his legal challenge to the visa cancellation and deportation was resolved.
The ABC reports that Nettle J decided that the Department was justified in revoking Newman’s visa over fears the visit would pose a risk to the community. Although Newman may have had a case to challenge the refusal, Nettle J said he should not have boarded a plane to Australia knowing his visa had been cancelled, as this meant he did not “come to the court with clean hands”.