R&B singer Chris Brown may be banned from entering Australia due to his domestic violence conviction, according to the country’s new minister for women.
Michaelia Cash, who was appointed on Monday, made comments suggesting that Brown, who is due to tour the country in December, could be refused a visa. “People need to understand, if you are going to commit domestic violence and 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 that we expect in Australia,'” she said on Thursday, at a press conference held to announce a new $100 million domestic violence prevention program, according to the BBC.
“I can assure you that the minister for immigration and border protection will be looking at this very, very seriously,” Cash added. “I am clearly not going to pre-empt a decision by the minister, however, I can assure you what my strong recommendation would be.”
In 2009, Brown pleaded guilty to assaulting his girlfriend at the time, pop singer Rihanna, and was sentenced to five years probation. Since the incident he has been denied entry to Canada, New Zealand and the U.K., although he has visited Australia twice—once in 2011 and again in 2012.
Advocacy group GetUp launched a petition on Friday calling on Peter Dutton, Australia’s immigration minister, to refuse Brown a visa. “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,” a message on the petition page reads.
In February this year, Australia denied a visa to boxer Floyd Mayweather, due to his 2012 conviction for a domestic battery offence. Mayweather served two years in jail and has a criminal record.
Referring to the Mayweather case, Cash said that it was a good example of the Australian government not being “afraid to say no.” “I don’t believe we are afraid to exercise that discretion,” she said.