The New Minister For Women Has Backed Calls To Ban Chris Brown From Coming To Australia

Shocker: she's already doing a better job than Tony Abbott.

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Tickets for Chris Brown’s Australasian arena tour go on sale this Monday and boy, is he getting some press.

Last week, the NZ Immigration Department announced he would be ineligible for a visa as a result of his prior assault charges and history of domestic violence. This week, at least one of his Australian posters was creatively defaced and GetUp launched a petition asking our own Immigration Department to follow in NZ’s footsteps. Today, that petition has more than 10,000 supporters, Nova (one of just two official media partners) have backed out of the tour completely, and the Australian government have issued their own response.

It’s not good news for this fella.

In a media conference to announce the government’s $100 million package to combat domestic violence, newly-appointed Minister For Women Michaela Cash expressed her support for those boycotting Brown’s tour and stated the Immigration Department were taking the issue “very, very seriously”.

“I am clearly not going to pre-empt a decision by the minister, however, I can assure you what my strong recommendation would be,” she said. “People need to understand that if you are going to commit domestic violence and then you want to travel around the world there are going to be countries that say to you, ‘You cannot come in because you are not of the character we expect in Australia’.”

“This is a Government that’s not afraid to say ‘no’.”

As she went on to state, this is something she has a bit of a track record on. In her previous role as Assistant Immigration Minister, Cash rallied against renowned heavyweight boxer Floyd Mayweather. His history of violence against women was the main factor in him being refused entry to the country earlier this year. According to the Migration Act, visas can be refused on character grounds to anyone with a “substantial criminal record” and Mayweather had been charged with several counts of domestic violence and battery. He’d been sentenced with a total of nine months suspended jail sentences, community service, and a few days of house arrest.

Chris Brown has had a similar number of charges laid against him. In 2009, he was convicted of assault against his then-girlfriend Rihanna and sentenced to five years probation. Though there have been many more allegations against him, this time was then slightly extended when pleading guilty to another assault of a man outside a Washington hotel last year.

Despite all this, Brown’s already been let into Australia twice in the past four years. Though he’s been banned from both the UK and Canada, he had no problems playing a successful arena tour in 2011 and Supafest in 2012.

The fact that this is now being questioned and potentially acted upon is a promising sign of changing attitudes on domestic violence; paired with the announcement of much-needed funding it’s possibly concrete change is on the way. And while this isn’t entirely the work of the Minister for Women — let’s remember that no one who acted as Assistant Immigration Minister to a government accused of torture is going to have a heart of gold — her few words today seem like more than Tony Abbott did over two years.