The Albanese Government’s decision to play politics with Donald Trump Jr.’s visa is not just a vicious attack on free speech. It’s a diplomatic faux pas of the highest order.
Perhaps obviously, there is no conceivable excuse for why Home Affairs Minister Claire O’Neil did not expeditiously process Mr. Trump’s application.
Standard practise mandates that the entertainment visa Mr. Trump applied for—the Temporary Activity visa (subclass 408)—be issued within about three weeks of the applicant’s submission or rejected with qualification. Mr. Trump submitted his application in mid-May but heard nothing.
He was still hearing nothing until journalist Sharri Markson, having only raised the matter five minutes earlier, received a communique on live television from the Department of Home Affairs confirming that the minister would, in fact, grant Mr. Trump’s visa.
Of course, the issue is that Turning Point Australia had already announced to its ticketholders the postponement of Mr. Trump’s tour.
In showbiz, I can assure you, postponed is the polite way of saying cancelled indefinitely. Contracts are voided, and money is lost.
I’ve spoken to sources close to Turning Point Australia; they predict that after terminating venue hires in three capital cities (and, remember, Australia doesn’t have many of those), a financial loss of six figures is guaranteed.
Because of the Albanese Government’s sheer incompetence in failing to process a visa in a timely fashion, a start-up nonprofit organisation has had its pretty-much-sold-out interstate tour featuring an international superstar utterly derailed.
Donald Trump Jr., poses during a signing event for his new book at Barnes & Noble on 5th Avenue in New York on Nov. 5, 2019. (Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images)
That is, unless this wasn’t a case of incompetence at all, and the Department of Home Affairs’ lethargy was premeditated.
If so, it is a national disgrace that the Commonwealth government would punish the entrepreneurial Turning Point Australia just because it holds differing political views and objectives.
In fact, it may even be considered authoritarian. To silence freedom of expression and association so callously is not only indicative of the Albanese Government’s arrogance but also of a society that progresses with increasing speed towards some nightmarish Orwellian dystopia.
Will Australia Protect Its Democracy
Once upon a time, Australia used to be the opposite of all this. Pioneering individuals were rewarded for undertaking capital ventures. Larrikinism was prized, and a healthy disdain for authority was eagerly encouraged.
Now, we have a prime minister so prepared to attack free speech that he is gearing up to pass a new law called the Communications Legislation Amendment (Combatting Misinformation and Disinformation) Bill 2023, which unilaterally appoints the Albanese Government the infallible arbiter of all truth online.
This is just as we approach an extremely divisive referendum to enshrine racial division in our Constitution too.
A mere coincidence, or yet another move by radical ideologues to defile and reinvent this country for their own material gain? I strongly suspect the latter.
In any case, whilst Ms. O’Neil is only specifically responsible for her Home Affairs portfolio, she would do well to remember that there are always international consequences for domestic tyrannies. The world is always watching.
Minister Clare O’Neil listens to Labor leader Anthony Albanese speak during a cabinet meeting at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, on May 30, 2019. (Tracey Nearmy/Getty Images)
Donald Trump Jr. is the eldest child of the 45th President of the United States of America. In no sane reality can this fact count for nothing.
We in Australia should particularly recognise that presidential children often go on to play important political, diplomatic or public roles; Caroline Kennedy, the U.S. ambassador, is our honoured guest in Canberra.
Moreover, former President Donald J. Trump is currently the primary frontrunner in the Republican Party’s 2024 bid for the White House.
What would happen if he was re-elected president? Does the Albanese Government realise that this little visa fiasco it needlessly manufactured could needlessly damage Australia’s future relationship with the United States? Does it even care?
After all this, I struggle to envision unreserved cooperation between a second Trump Administration and Kevin Rudd, Australia’s Ambassador to the U.S. but also Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s former Labor boss.
The way forward seems fairly crystal clear to me. Mr. Albanese should resign; this is but another nail in his political coffin, which, at the rate things are going, is currently poised to fall off a cliff.
Ms. O’Neil should resign too, but not before conclusively explaining why it took the Department of Home Affairs longer than it should have to process Mr. Trump’s visa.
Legal questions should be also asked as to whether or not Turning Point Australia can seek compensation from the Commonwealth for damages incurred.
And, above all, Donald Trump Jr. must reschedule his tour—if only to prove that he is physically able to enter Australia on a working visa, thus reassuring us all that there is still hope yet for this notionally democratic island nation.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.