Aussie Government Holding up Anti-Whaler's Visa Application?
The crew of the Steve Irwin - the newest anti-whaling ship belonging to pressure group Sea Shepherd - are still planning to protest against Japanese whaling in December, despite the Australian government's decision to not to give a visa to captain Paul Watson. The group also claim that the decision not to allocate a visa has been taken under pressure from the Japanese government.
The ship is currently docked in Hobart, Tasmania following a collision and Captain Watson was due to embark before the crisis broke. The group have vowed that they will circumvent the visa by helicoptering him aboard at sea if they have to.
The case raises the interesting issue of how Governments are increasingly using laws introduced to control immigration for political ends. In recent years, the UK government has denied visitation visas to the likes of Snoop Dogg, Pym Fortuyn and Louis Farrakhan. In this case, there seems to be little amongst the different types of Australian Visa that would act as legitimate bar to Captain Watson coming ashore, given that he would neither be visiting for business interests or for an especially extended stay.
Due to the particular circumstances of this case, it seems highly unlikely that this move will prove to be any more effective than similar attempted bans in the UK and other countres