Mr/s H L
4 Grqcd [sic] Crescent
MERRYLANDS NSW 2160
for your letter of 9 November 1996 concerning the
applications of Mr David Irving and Mr Gerry Adams to
would be aware I decided on 6
to refuse to grant visas to Mr Irving and Mr Adams as I
was satisfied that they are not persons of good
In 1992 Mr
Irving was convicted
of "defaming the memory of the dead", an offence under
German law, and in 1993 expelled from Germany; in 1992 Mr
Irving was detained by Canadian immigration officials and
in 1994 Mr Irving was found to be in contempt of the UK
High Court and committed to prison for three months.
Sworn evidence by Mr Irving, in an attempt to purge that
contempt, was later rejected by a judge of the UK High
Court. This conduct reveals a consistent pattern of
behaviour which led me to conclude that Mr Irving is not
a person of good character.
Irving's last two applications for visitor visas were
also refused as it was assessed that he did not meet the
legal criteria for the grant of the visas. These
decisions were the subject of an appeal to the Federal
Court by Mr Irving. In a judgment
dated 30 July 1996 the Federal Court rejected that
appeal. The Federal Court observed that 'good character'
should be taken in its ordinary sense as a reference to
the enduring moral qualities of a person and not to the
good standing, fame or repute of that person in the
community. The Court also commented that lack of respect
for the law and for sensitivities for which the law
sought to win respect was relevant to the issue of
character in Mr Irving's case.
who is President of Sinn Féin, continues to be
intimately associated with the Provisional Irish
Republican Army. This organisation continues to conduct
criminal acts of terrorism and bombings. It is Mr Adams'
association with this organisation which led me to
conclude that he is not a person of good
decision in respect to Mr Irving and Mr Adams had nothing
to do with foreign policy or the issue of free speech.
The Australian Government is committed to the principle
of freedom of speech. Mr Irving's views and writings are
readily available in Australia and Australians are free
to come to their own conclusions about Mr Irving's
for bringing your thoughts on this matter to my