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As a nation, do we believe in robust political debate? Or are we leaning towards the more suppressive model coming out of Communist China?

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An Australian speaking tour by Donald Trump Junior was ended before it began. The former US president’s son had his visa delayed and it was only in the last 24 hours before he was due to board his flight that it was granted. The tour has been rescheduled for later this year.

British broadcaster and former politician, Nigel Farage, who was expected to tour with Donald Trump Junior has been going through his own brush with cancel culture in the form of debanking. The former Member of European parliament says that Coutts Bank (NatWest) decided to close his accounts because it didn’t like his political views.

We should be celebrating political diversity with some of the biggest names in international politics. It’s a chance for friend and foe to compete in debate, a practice that dates back to the world’s first known democratic societies in Ancient Greece.

It seems extraordinary that an Australian minister would intervene to prevent the visit of the son of a former US president, if that’s what really happened.

It’s easy to see the misuse of this discretionary power when you look at the performance of previous governments who have vetoed the visas of speakers, sports stars and political individuals who are known to hold views contrary to whatever the prevailing dogma is at the time.

Cancelling the son of a former president is an undiplomatic act that could easily come back to bite those responsible.

The Unlucky Country - Zimmermann & Moens

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