US singer Chris Brown could be barred from entering both Australia and New Zealand as both countries scrutinise the pop star’s domestic violence record.
Brown was arrested in 2009 and faced felony charges for punching and strangling then-girlfriend Rihanna. He was sentenced to five years probation for the attack. He was barred from entering the United Kingdom in 2010 and Canada in 2015 because of his felony conviction.
Tickets for four shows in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth, and one show in Auckland, in December are due to go on sale on Monday but the Australian government has warned Brown may not even step foot in the country.
Australian action group GetUp! has said Brown is not welcome.
“We’re speaking out against Chris Brown because his casual visit to our country would have enormous symbolic significance, which will only be amplified by our silence. By turning a blind eye to his tour, we send a message to survivors of family violence that it’s not that important and that you should just get over it,” the group said.
The group has more than 12,000 signatures on a petition against Brown entering the country.
Australia’s Migration Act states anyone with a “substantial criminal record” involving a prison sentence of 12 months or more – including a suspended sentence – can be refused a visa.
Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton is said to be looking at the issue very carefully.
New Zealand’s Minister for Immigration, Michael Woodhouse, said Brown was technically barred from entering New Zealand and would need a “special direction” waiver. As of last week he had not applied to Immigration New Zealand for a waiver.
New Zealand MP Judith Collins said Brown could “bugger off”.
Asked on the Paul Henry Show last week whether Brown should be allowed into New Zealand, Collins said: “we’ve got enough wife-beaters in this country, he should just bugger off”.
Labour MP Phil Goff agreed.
“He not only viciously beat his then-partner Rihanna, he actually shows no remorse about it – why would we want him here?”