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Should The World’s First Female Hijacker Be Allowed Into Australia?

Leila Khaled, the world’s first female aeroplane hijacker, is set to speak at the Green Left’s Ecosocialism 2024 conference in Western Australia in June, sparking controversy and calls for her ban from entry into the country. 

The 80-year-old Palestinian activist, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), was involved in aeroplane hijackings in the late 60s.

Despite no injuries occurring, the hijackers blew up the aircraft’s nose.

With Khaled’s past history and her more recent activism, would she be allowed entry into Australia?

Or would her name be added to the long list of other controversial figures, such as Novak Djokovic, Chelsea Manning, and Chris Brown, who have been banned from entering the country?

On today’s The Briefing podcast, LiSTNR’s Investigations Editor, Clair Weaver, talked to immigration lawyer Ben Watt about how visa decisions on controversial figures are decided.

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Leila Khaled, the world’s first female aeroplane hijacker, is set to speak at the Green Left’s Ecosocialism 2024 conference in Western Australia in June, sparking controversy and calls for her ban from entry into the country.  The 80-year-old Palestinian activist, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), was involved in aeroplane hijackings in the late 60s. But with her past history and her more recent activism, would she be allowed entry into Australia? Or would her name be added to the long list of other controversial figures – like Novak Djokovic, Chelsea Manning, Chris Brown, who have been banned from entering the country? Watch the video now to find out more! #news #podcast #leilakhaled

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Mr Watt said that Applicants must prove they lack a substantial criminal record, are not part of organisations linked to criminal conduct, and do not promote discord within the Australian community. 

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Additionally, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) may veto an application if it risks causing diplomatic incidents.

Khaled’s case raises questions about Australia’s approach to controversial public figures. 

Australia has previously banned or refused entry to individuals such as Novak Djokovic, Chelsea Manning, and Milo Yiannopoulos for various reasons, including vaccination issues, inflammatory comments, and leaking classified information.

Mr Watt said that Khaled’s activism in recent decades could sway the decision.

“In fact, it might be amplifying her message. By preventing her from entering, it might be sort of drawing a lot of attention to it. In fact, this might very well be purposeful,” he said.

The ongoing conflict in Gaza may also impact the decision-making process, with concerns about exacerbating tensions and promoting violence.

“A fair bit of that information is rather opaque because they don’t want to disclose how they make those internal decisions because of course, that might give people an idea as to how to get around them.”

As far as known, Khaled has yet to apply for an Australian visa.

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