Tyson granted Australia visa

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 October, 2012, 11:45am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 October, 2012, 11:51am

Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson was Wednesday granted a visa to Australia but warned he must behave, a week after the convicted rapist was denied entry to New Zealand.

Tyson, who was sentenced to six years in prison in 1992 for raping an 18-year-old woman, is scheduled to visit Australia in November as part of his Day of the Champions speaking tour.

The Immigration Department said it weighed up the pros and cons and decided it was appropriate to allow him into the country with an entertainment visa.

But it cautioned him that he must abide by Australian laws.

“Mr Tyson has been formally warned that coming to Australia is a privilege,” an immigration department spokeswoman said.

“Non-citizens need to be aware of expectations on their behaviour while they are in Australia, they need to be law-abiding and respect important institutions and not cause or threaten harm to individuals in our community,” she added.

Tyson is due to arrive in Brisbane on November 16, before travelling to Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.

“We are thrilled and are very grateful to the Australian government for granting Mike Tyson a visa and allowing him to visit Australia for the very first time,” said Max Markson, chief of tour promoter Markson Sparks.

Tyson had also originally been granted a visa to visit New Zealand, despite opposition from Prime Minister John Key.

But New Zealand’s associate Immigration Minister Kate Wilkinson last week said the visa had been cancelled after the show sponsor, the Life Education Trust, made clear it “no longer wants to have any involvement” with Tyson’s visit.

“Given that the Trust is no longer supporting the event, on balance, I have made the decision to cancel his visa to enter New Zealand for the Day of the Champions event,” the minister said.

Under New Zealand law anyone sentenced to more than five years in jail is denied a visa, although this can be waived in certain circumstances.

Having a criminal conviction does not necessarily stop people from getting an Australian visa as long as all offences are disclosed.