News National Wilders to launch anti-Islam party in Perth

Wilders to launch anti-Islam party in Perth

AAP
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Controversial right-wing Dutch MP Geert Wilders will launch a political party he has inspired under tight security at a top-secret venue in Perth.

Australian Liberty Alliance president Debbie Robinson said this week she was worried authorities were deliberately stalling Mr Wilders’ visa application, which had been lodged weeks earlier.

But Mr Wilders tweeted on Thursday he had secured his paperwork and looked forward to the launch of the anti-Islam party.

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Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has confirmed he was consulted about the application.

Ms Robinson said the granting of the visa is a victory for free speech.

“We’re very happy that he’ll be able to speak in Perth,” Ms Robinson told AAP on Friday.

She said Mr Wilders will be flanked by heavy security at the launch and the venue will not be made public.

“There’s a lot of security concerns around this visit,” she said.

The party initially had some difficulty in booking a venue.

“As always, people back out and change their mind, but we do have a venue at this point in time,” Ms Robinson said.

Four of the alliance’s five directors are from the anti-Islam Q Society, which hosted Mr Wilders’ visit to Perth in 2013, when he cancelled a news conference and speaking engagement after the venue, a four-star hotel, scrubbed his booking.

West Australian Premier Colin Barnett said at the time he may have “played some role” in the venue’s action.

Mr Barnett said on Friday Mr Wilders was not welcome in any government-owned venue but he would not do anything to stop the visit.

“I’d prefer that he didn’t come here, however there is a right to freedom of speech, so we’re not going to stand in his way or those people who might be organising his visit,” the premier said.

“There is a small element that would support some of his quite radical and, I would say, discriminatory views, but it’s certainly not the view of the West Australian government and certainly not the view of the vast majority of Western Australians.”

The Australian Liberty Alliance plans to use the launch to unveil its Senate candidates for the next federal election.

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