Not allowed into Australia

Terrorist invited to Green Left conference

"The government strongly condemns anyone who incites violence and hatred in our community," says Senior government minister Katy Gallagher.

Leila Khaled. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Leila Khaled. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Palestinian terrorist Leila Khaled will not be allowed into Australia to speak at a socialist climate conference, a senior government minister said this week.

Khaled has been announced as a speaker at “Ecosocialism 2024: Fight Climate Change Not War”, to be held in Perth in June this year.

A member of the national committee of terrorist group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Khaled became the first woman in the world to hijack an aeroplane in 1969 with the hijacking of TWA Flight 840. She participated in one of the four simultaneous Dawson’s Field hijackings the following year as part of the campaign of the Black September terrorist organisation in Jordan.

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) wrote to Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, Minister for Home Affairs Clare O’Neil and Minister for Immigration Andrew Giles earlier this week urging that any visa application should be rejected and she should not be allowed to appear virtually.

Senior government minister Katy Gallagher told the Senate on Tuesday, “The government strongly condemns anyone who incites violence and hatred in our community.

“Anyone with this history will not be allowed into Australia.”

Dreyfus told The AJN, “The offence of advocating terrorism in Australia can apply even where the person is in a foreign country. As such, it could apply if an individual appeared online in Australia rather than in person.”

He added that the government’s Nazi hate symbols legislation, now in effect, also criminalises glorifying or praising acts of terrorism.

Giles said he has been in conversation with community leaders “regarding this individual”.

“While I can’t talk about specific cases, our laws are clear – anyone applying for a visa has to demonstrate that they are of good character,” he said.

The AJN understands Khaled has not submitted a visa application.

ECAJ co-CEO Alex Ryvchin thanked the government “for their clear position on not letting convicted plane hijackers fly into our country”.

“It’s admittedly a low bar but given the recent history of rabid antisemites and supporters of Palestinian terrorism being given prominent platforms at public events, nothing can be taken for granted,” he said.

“We are grateful to Ministers Dreyfus, Giles and Gallagher for their leadership and clarity.”

The ECAJ had earlier said in its letter, “Given her criminal background and current associations, her appearance, actual or virtual, would be likely to have the effect of inciting, promoting or advocating terrorism to an Australian audience, to aggravate current social divisions and thus cause damage to social cohesion.”

Ecosocialism 2024 organiser Sam Wainwright told Green Left Weekly – a co-host of the conference – on Tuesday that the “far-right objections” to Khaled, who he labelled a “Palestinian freedom fighter”, were “fake outrage”.

He added, “Khaled enrages supporters of Israel in this country because she frames the events of October 7 within the moral and legal right of the Palestinians to resist Israeli occupation, including by force of arms.”

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