Immigration Minister Peter Dutton is letting a controversial US anti-abortion activist stay in Australia an extra day until the federal government decides what to do with him.
Troy Newman arrived at Melbourne Airport on Thursday morning despite Mr Dutton this week revoking his visa amid concerns the speaker would incite community harm.
Upon disembarking his 6.40am United Airlines flight, immigration officials told Mr Newman his visa had been cancelled and detained him.
Mr Newman, who has suggested doctors who abort babies should be executed, had planned speaking engagements with Right to Life groups in Melbourne, Sydney, Hobart, Brisbane and Cairns.
His wife, Mellissa, did not have her visa revoked and went to the High Court on Thursday afternoon to help her husband appeal the visa decision.
But shortly after counsel for Mr Newman told the High Court the visa decision was flawed, lawyers for the immigration minister said they were willing to enter into discussions with Mr Newman.
“We propose an undertaking this man will not be removed for the next 24 hours,” David Brown said.
“There will be discussions between the parties so that the matters can be resolved.”
Moments earlier, Mr Newman’s barrister said the federal government’s decision to prevent the speaker from coming to Australia was flawed because Mr Newman had never incited violence.
“The basis of the (visa) finding seems to rest solely on the adverse reaction to my client’s presence in Australia,” Richard Knowles said.
“There was no question at all that my client has ever advocated violence.”
Mr Newman also never received official notification from the immigration department that his visa had been revoked, the court heard.
However, he knew the visa was an issue, as he had posted a video online of him arguing with airline staff who were telling him he could not board a plane in the US because of his cancelled visa.
Mrs Newman told ABC’s 7.30 Report that they arranged a flight from Denver to LA with another carrier before using the United Airlines boarding pass they had already received to fly to Australia. President of Right to Life Margaret Tighe said Mr Newman had simply gone to another airline.
“He half expected to be stopped getting on a flight, so it was only natural that he thought the government had dropped their opposition – it certainly was not a PR exercise.”
United Airlines faces a fine for letting him travel without a visa. High Court Justice Geoffrey Nettle has adjourned the matter until Friday afternoon to give Mr Dutton time to consider the case overnight.