Manning could be banned from Australia

Whistle blower and activist Chelsea Manning. Photo: Getty Images
Whistle blower and activist Chelsea Manning. Photo: Getty Images

Convicted US whistleblower Chelsea Manning could have her visa application denied by the Australian government just days before her speaking tour is due to start.

Ms Manning, a former army intelligence analyst best-known for leaking classified military and diplomatic documents, is scheduled to start her tour at the Sydney Opera House on Sunday.

But the federal government is considering refusing entry to Ms Manning - who was released from military prison in 2017 - under s501 of the Migration Act.

Tour organiser Think Inc has received a Notice of Intention to deny the transgender activist entry into Australia.

"Which after a little bit of research, and speaking to our legal counsel, we understand is potentially an imminent refusal of her visa," Think Inc director Suzi Jamil told the ABC.

The group is calling on the whistleblower's supporters to lobby new Immigration Minister David Coleman to allow her into Australia.

The Department of Home Affairs said while it does not comment on individual cases all non-citizens entering Australia must meet character requirements set out in the Migration Act.

"A person can fail the character test for a number of reasons, including but not limited to where a non-citizen has a substantial criminal record or where their conduct represents a risk to the Australian community," a department spokesman told AAP in a statement.

Labor foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong said the government should be transparent about the reasons if Ms Manning is denied entry.

It was also "inconsistent" with Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton's decision in 2015, when immigration minister, to reverse a border control decision to deny three au pairs entry to Australia, Senator Wong said.

Amnesty International accused the government of trying to silence Ms Manning.

"By refusing her entry, the Australian government would send a chilling message that freedom of speech is not valued by our government," National Director of Amnesty International Australia, Claire Mallinson, said in a statement.

"Denying her entry based on a past criminal conviction would be a restriction on her right to freedom of expression and would hamper her legitimate human rights work."

Lawyer Greg Barns, who has represented Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, said people with criminal records have been allowed into Australia in the past.

"Those provisions are really designed to be utilised in cases where there is a risk that a person may commit offences, is a risk to the Australian community, no one would seriously suggest that's the case here," Mr Barns told ABC radio.

Ms Manning is also facing calls to be barred from New Zealand, with the centre-right National Party urging the Government to decline her visa request, saying she was a "felon".

She is due to speak in Auckland on September 8 and Wellington on September 9.

Other Australian dates are Melbourne on September 7 and Brisbane on September 11.

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