US anti-abortion activist to be deported from Australia after visa is revoked

An anti-abortion poster displayed during a march in Melbourne, Australia, on Sept 26 2015.
An anti-abortion poster displayed during a march in Melbourne, Australia, on Sept 26 2015.PHOTO: EPA

SYDNEY (AFP) - Controversial American anti-abortion activist Troy Newman will be deported after losing a legal bid to stay in Australia on Friday (Oct 2), following the immigration minister's decision to revoke his visa.

Opposition politicians and campaigners had appealed for Mr Newman to be blocked from entering the country for a speaking tour, arguing that his opinions - which allegedly include calling for doctors who perform abortions to be executed - were extreme and dangerous.

It is Australia's second high-profile visa case in as many weeks after United States R&B singer Chris Brown was notified last week that he could be blocked from touring Australia for his domestic violence conviction.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton cancelled Mr Newman's visa on Tuesday but the American still flew to Australia, arriving on Thursday in Melbourne, where he was detained.

His bid to stop deportation was denied by the High Court in Melbourne.

Justice Geoffrey Nettle told the hearing he was rejecting Mr Newman's appeal to stay, adding that he did "not come to this court with clean hands" as he had boarded the flight without a visa, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

Judge Nettle's decision means he could be deported as soon as Friday night, media reports said.

A court official told AFP a second application to overturn the visa cancellation could still be heard at a later unspecified date.

Mr Newman, president of Kansas-based Operation Rescue, a pro-life Christian organisation, was due to speak at several events across the country hosted by Right To Life Australia.

He has campaigned actively in the United States against abortion rights but a statement from Operation Rescue said he has "never supported violence against abortion providers".

The organisation also demanded an apology from Mr Dutton for Mr Newman's detention after his arrival.

But Mr Dutton said in a statement that Mr Newman "has been treated in the same manner as any other illegal arrival".

"His detention and removal is entirely related to his decision to openly flout Australian law and travel to Australia without a valid visa."