In a direct attack on democratic rights and freedom of speech, the newly-installed Liberal-National Coalition government of Prime Minister Scott Morrison has declared its intent to deny courageous US military whistleblower Chelsea Manning a visa to address what are expected to be large audiences in major Australian cities.
Just days before Manning was due to speak in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, and then in Auckland and Wellington, New Zealand, the Australian government issued her with a “Notice on Intention” to deny her an entry visa. This was done on the spurious grounds that she fails the Migration Act’s “character test” because of a “substantial criminal record.” Similar moves are underway to ban her from New Zealand.
The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) condemns the planned political censorship and demands its immediate reversal. Manning is not a “criminal.” Her heroic act in leaking more than 750,000 classified US military and diplomatic documents, which were then published by WikiLeaks in 2010, exposed the real criminals, who still sit in power in Washington and Canberra.
Manning is being denied her fundamental democratic right to speak publicly about her actions. The people of Australia and New Zealand are being denied their basic democratic right to hear her speak and discuss the political implications of her revelations.