Image: Singer Chris Brown who pleaded guilty to assaulting his girlfriend Rihanna, appears in court with his lawyer Mark Geragos for a progress hearing, in Los Angeles, California, January 15, 2015. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/Files
By Matt Siegel
SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia was facing pressure on Thursday to deny entry to American singer and hip-hop star Chris Brown over his history of domestic abuse, as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull pledged A$100 million ($70.05 million) to combat violence against women.
Public pressure has been growing to block Brown, whose California probation stemming from a 2009 plea to assaulting singer Rihanna was revoked in February, from performing in four Australian cities in December.
Australian Minister for Women Michaelia Cash, speaking alongside Turnbull at an event in Canberra highlighting new government efforts to fight domestic violence, urged Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to bar the performer.
“People need to understand that if you are going to commit domestic violence and then you want to travel around the world there are going to be countries that say to you, ‘You cannot come in because you are not of the character we expect in Australia’,” Cash told reporters.
Dutton has not commented publicly on the issue.
Cash, who was assistant immigration minister until her elevation to the frontbench this week, previously denied boxer Floyd Mayweather entry to Australia over his history of domestic violence.
It is not uncommon for performers with legal troubles to be refused entry to foreign countries. Brown postponed a British tour in 2010 after he was denied a visa and in February was declined entry into Canada.
Turnbull and former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who was ousted in a leadership coup last week, have devoted greater resources to battling domestic violence after a spate of high-profile deaths.
At least 31 women were killed by their partners in the first 15 weeks of 2015, police figures show, sparking a public outcry and calls for greater government resources focused on the issue.
The 11-year-old son of Australian of the Year Rosie Batty, who attended the media event with Turnbull and Cash, was killed by his father at a cricket training session in Victoria state in 2014.
Neighbouring New Zealand has already ruled Brown ineligible for entry as a result of Britain refusing him admission, casting doubt over the antipodean leg of his world tour.
($1=1.4276 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Matt Siegel; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
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