A federal cabinet minister has suggested controversial US artist Kanye West may struggle to get a visa to enter the country, considering his history of anti-Semitic rhetoric.
- Kanye West is facing calls to be denied a visa to Australia if he attempts to visit
- The federal opposition and Jewish leaders say he has a history of anti-Semitic comments
- A senior government minister says others have been refused visas over similar rhetoric
It has been reported the 45-year-old rapper and designer is planning to travel to Melbourne to meet the family of his new Australian partner, Bianca Censori.
Last year, West praised Hitler during an interview with far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
“I like Hitler,” West told Jones, later adding he saw “good things about Hitler”.
“I love Jewish people, but I also love Nazis.”
Education Minister Jason Clare said to describe such comments as awful “would be an understatement”.
“I don’t know if he’s applied for a visa yet — but Google it, you will see that he seems like he’s a pretty big fan of a person who killed 6 million Jewish people last century,” Mr Clare told Channel Nine.
“People like that who’ve applied for visas to get into Australia in the past have been rejected.
“I expect that if he does apply, he would have to go through the same process and answer the same questions that they did.”
On Tuesday, federal Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said if he was still in government, his “inclination would be not to allow him in”.
“His anti-Semitic comments are disgraceful, his conduct and his behaviour is appalling, and he’s not a person of good character,” Mr Dutton told Melbourne radio station 3AW.
“The minister has the ability to stop somebody coming into our country of bad character.
“So, the minister’s got a lot to weigh up, but I must say my instinct would be if I was that decision-maker, I think there are better people we could welcome in.”
The Australian Jewish Association has written to Immigration Minister Andrew Giles to demand West, who is legally known by the name of “Ye”, be banned from entering the country.
“He has become a lightning rod for extremists, for anti-Semites, for Neo-Nazis as well, and he inspires a lot of young people — he has a massive following,” the association’s president, David Adler, said.
“He has a very strong record vilifying a segment of the community, namely, the Jewish community, he uses terms like going ‘DEFCON 3’ on the Jewish people.
“He’s used all sorts of anti-Semitic tropes — so yes, we think that’s a significant risk, and because of him being such a prominent and inspirational figure to youth, we think it is a risk in Australian society.”