By Cheryl Sullenger
Melbourne, Australia – With reluctance, Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue, has voluntarily dropped his appeal to the Australian High Court of the dubiously-made cancellation of his visa to travel and speak across Australia earlier this month in a national tour sponsored by Australia Right to Life.
“The decision to cancel my visa was completely and unjustly founded on a pack of lies put forth by a radical supporter of abortion in the Parliament,” said Newman. “I had every intention of fighting this unjust and sloppy decision. Unfortunately, because litigating this case was going to be prohibitively expensive, the more prudent course of action was to withdraw the appeal,” said Newman.
Compounding Newman’s visa fiasco was the incompetence of the Ministry of Immigration’s office, which sent the cancellation notice to the wrong e-mail address so that Newman was never officially notified that his visa had been cancelled.
Newman boarded the first leg of his flight to Melbourne in Wichita, Kansas, with no problems. However, he was prevented from boarding his connecting flight from Denver to Los Angeles having been told by United Airlines employees that the Australian government had blocked him from flying within the U.S., but refused to give a satisfactory explanation.
A video taken by Newman of that incident went viral on Facebook.
Newman booked a flight on another carrier and arrived in Los Angeles in time for his original flight to Melbourne, where he was cleared to board without incident.
Upon arrival in Melbourne, Newman was immediately taken into custody and served three days in solitary confinement where he was denied access to his attorney. An agreement was made to allow Newman to continue on with his speaking engagements in Australia, but the Minister of Immigration, Peter Dutton, went back on his word at the last minute and had Newman deported.
However, during a hearing about Newman’s detention, serious questions were raised about the basis on which his visa was cancelled. While the pro-abortion Member of Parliament accused him of advocating violence against abortion providers – a completely false accusation – Dutton expressed only fears that “a strong reaction against [Newman] from members of the public who support the choice of women to have an abortion that might result in protests similar to those that took place in the United States of America.”
Mary Collier of Australia Right to Life released a statement blaming the misunderstanding on incompetency on the part of the Immigration Department.
“The Department’s actions in this case did not only reflect incompetence, but also considerable unfairness,” Collier stated. “The fear that some people may protest about a speaker’s message should not be enough to cancel his or her visa or prevent them from coming to Australia. In Australia, everyone should have the right to express his or her political opinion.”
Newman’s attorneys with Clothier Anderson Immigration Lawyers also released a press statement regarding Newman’s case, expressing legal concerns with the decision to cancel Newman’s visa in light of the Australian Constitution that guarantees the right to the free expression of political speech.
“This case was about more than activism in support of a pro-life agenda – the broad principle was that key powers in the Immigration Act of 1958 need to be exercised consistently with the implied freedom of any political communication under the Australian constitution,” stated Newman’s attorneys.
“While we were never able to fully resolve the injustice and prejudices that prevented me from spreading a message of peaceful activism within the law to bring an end to abortion, we will carry on reaching the Australian people by means of the Internet and other publications,” said Newman. “Because of the oppressive costs of litigation in Australia, we withdraw now only to live to fight another day.”