SYDNEY: Australia Thursday warned US rapper Chris Brown could be denied a visa for an upcoming tour because of his criminal record, as it unveiled an A$100 million (US$70 million) package to end the “national disgrace” of domestic violence.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s first policy initiative since coming to power last week underlines the national debate that has erupted over family violence, which is claiming lives at the rate of nearly two women per week.
“Violence against women is one of the great shames of Australia. It is a national disgrace,” Turnbull said, adding that a “big cultural shift” was needed to defeat it.
Michaelia Cash who was appointed Minister of Women on Sunday said the government was “very seriously” considering refusing Brown entry to Australia because of his record — a 2009 assault on pop star Rihanna.
Brown is due to hold a series of concerts in December, but activists are campaigning against letting in the rapper, who has been barred from other countries including Britain and Canada.
“I can assure you it is something that the minister (for immigration) is looking at,” Cash told reporters.
The former assistant immigration minister said she had previously revoked the visa of a “very, very, very wealthy” boxing star, understood to be Floyd Mayweather who has multiple convictions for assaulting women.
“We said, ‘No, we are not providing you with a visa, you are not the type of person we want in Australia.’”
There are also questions over whether Brown will be allowed into New Zealand for the planned tour. His assault conviction means he needs to apply for a special visa and so far none has been lodged.
Long-serving New Zealand lawmaker Judith Collins gave her opinion on the issue last week, saying, “We’ve got enough wife beaters in this country, he should just bugger off.”