Controversial right-wing activists set for Australian tour
AS if the Australian political climate isn't febrile enough, some of the planet's most inflammatory right-wing provocateurs are heading Down Under before Christmas for what's billed as "The Deplorables" Tour.
Gavin McInnes and Tommy Robinson have signed on for a joint speaking tour in Australia in December, according to promoter Damien Costas, just as news breaks that the National Party in NSW is investigating members for alleged links to white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups.
Costas, publisher of Penthouse Australia, dismissed as "nonsense" claims that the recently jailed Robinson, leader of British far-right group, the English Defence League, and McInnes, the Canadian founder of pro-Trump men's rights group "The Proud Boys" are "white supremacists".
But he says Australia has become the "destination of choice for right-wing provocateurs".
"There's a real appetite for it and, in my opinion, it's due to a lack of leadership from our politicians … Identity politics and political correctness are having a much bigger impact on people's lives than our politicians care to admit, and it's causing considerable unrest in the community."
Robinson, who was only released from jail in the UK last week over an ongoing contempt of court case, says he is looking forward to thanking Australian fans.
"Over half the support that I received online over the last few months has come from Australia," says Robinson. "It's been absolutely amazing. I want to come and say, "thank you".
"I want to come and warn Australians on what problems are coming their way. I want to talk about the problem of identity politics, it's impact on free speech and the rise of radical Islam in the West.
"I grew up in Luton town, home to one of the biggest and most radical Islamic communities in, not just the UK, but all of Europe. This is the place previously noted by the CIA as the centre of terrorist activity in Europe. I know how much Australians love freedom, but that freedom is in danger, it's under threat, and we need to act."
McInnes, who also has been accused of inciting violence, says: "I'm a comedian, it's so easy to take what I say out of context when you string together a video of clips from my shows. So, let me set the record straight. Violence is wrong, I deplore it. But self-defence is not. Conservatives have been the victims of violence from leftist groups like Antifa for years. They've been told to turn the other cheek and take a beating. No. We're not doing that anymore …
"This whole "Nazi" narrative is the left trying to dehumanise the rest of us, so they can control the narrative and pretend we don't exist. We're not racists or homophobes or anti-Semites or whatever the word of the week is. We're fun-loving patriots, people with families, who love our countries and want to extol the liberty that made them great."
Separately, Steve Bannon, former Trump adviser, one-time Breitbart chief, and darling of the global anti-globalist nationalist movement, also has been reported to be heading to Australia before the federal election. Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter were reportedly in talks to tour Australia, but negotiations broke down.
Costas also was responsible for the tour this year by Brexit architect Nigel Farage, founder of the anti-immigration UK Independence Party.
Violent protests in Melbourne against Farage and Canadian right wing You-Tubers Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux led to a hefty police bill for organisers, but Sydney was more sanguine, with not one protester taking the bait.
Why Australia has become a magnet for alt-right speakers is a mystery. But Yiannopoulos has described Australia as "the one last remaining bastion of free speech where people can actually crack a joke and not get fired."
The former Breitbart senior editor lost his job last year after describing sex between adults and children as sometimes "not that big of a deal".
Bannon did not return emails.
The Deplorables tour will kick off in Adelaide in early December and finish in Sydney.