The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Irving in Australian Court Again, Seeks Travel Visa

Written by Natalie O'Brien

"Controversial British historian Mr David Irving has launched a fresh bid to enter Australia, with his lawyer telling the Federal Court yesterday Mr Irving had been punished for his 'politically incorrect' views.

Barrister Mr Peter Bates also conceded to the court in Perth that Mr Irving might have lied to Canadian authorities and had been convicted of 'defaming the memory of the dead' in Germany.

But that was no reason to ban him from Australia, Mr Bates said.

Mr Irving had been unfairly labelled a neo-Nazi and a neo-fascist because he had questioned the 'traditional learning' about the Holocaust In World War II.

Mr Bates asked the court to review the Federal Government's decision in May last year to stop Mr Irving's planned lecture tour on the grounds that he was not of good character.

'Even his most vehement detractors would agree that until he expressed his views about the Holocaust in 1988 he was highly regarded...and a man with a world-wide reputation,' Mr Bates said.

'Everything that has happened to him since 1988 has happened because of his historical views.'

Mr Irving's revisionist views on Nazi Germany, its treatment of Jews and his publicly expressed doubts that Jews were gassed at the Auschwitz concentration camp have outraged Jewish groups around the world.

Banned from entering Australia in 1993, Mr Irving won an appeal to have that decision overturned. But he was again refused a visa in May 1994.

Veritas Publishing Company, Mr Irving's Australian publisher, started a fighting fund to pay the legal costs to challenge the decision to ban him.

The manager of Veritas Publishing, Mr Murray Pope, said outside the court that the company hoped to bring Mr Irving to Australia this year to promote new books, including one on diaries kept by Adolf Hitler's chief propagandist, Joseph Goebbels.

Counsel for the Federal Governemt, Mr Stephen Owen-Conway QC, said it did not matter whether Mr Irving's views had credence or not. Mr Owen-Conway told the court the decision to ban Mr Irving was based on the knowledge that he had been found to have given false evidence under oath and had been convicted of a serious offence in Germany.

He said Mr Irving had shown 'flagrant disregard for the laws of the Federal Republic of Germany' and was found to be a threat to the country's security.

However, Mr Bates said aspects of Mr Irving's behaviour, even at their worst, would not render Mr Irving a threat to the Australian community.

He said Mr Irving was a clean-living man who was not a member of any terrorist organisation and could not be considered of 'bad character'.

Mr Bates said that although Mr Irving's opinions may be considered inaccurate, wrong or even rejected they were based on historical research and were genuine academic views.

'He is not a crackpot or a vicious person as some may suggest,' Mr Bates said.

The hearing is continuing."

-The Australian (22 July, 1995).

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