David Irving's Fight against Australian Suppression of Free Speech

Press Release:

Contradicting his own immigration minister, Australian Prime Minister John Howard publicly admits in London that British historian is banned for his "views".

October 23, 1997

David Irving

David Irving after challenging prime minister John Howard in London on October 23, 1997.

Quick navigation  

THERE FOLLOWS the text of David Irving's two exchanges with the Australian prime minister John Howard at the Intercontinental Hotel, London, this mid-day [October 23, 1997] (from a tape recording): first, Irving went to him seated in front row:


Irving: Mr. Howard, Mr. Howard!

Howard (stands up, takes outstretched hand): Uh?

Irving: I am David Irving.

Howard: Oh, sh**. (Laughter all round).

Irving: I wanted to say hello to you, since you've come today to within a hundred yards of where I live. I hope one day to be able to visit your fine country.

After Howard delivered his speech, came a discussion period:-


Irving: Mr. John Howard - I am David Irving.

You know me of course. May I welcome you to our Parish of Mayfair, as a citizen of the Parish of Mayfair? As you know, I can't come to Australia. You have spoken a great deal about liberalisation, of the pace of liberalisation, which we can only greet, and of the importance of the global network. Would you say a word about Australia's record in the suppression of free speech into your country, of which of course I am a victim?

Howard: Mr. Irving, of course I do know you, uh ...

Irving (standing again): ... and of course you are within the jurisdiction of the English courts now sir ...

Howard: I, uh, do, I do, I do know you, and uh, I am responsible as prime minister of my country, uh, for taking a decision not to allow you to enter Australia. And the reason for that decision was, uh, based upon my government's perception of the Australian national interest, and, uh, uh, the reasons that relate, uh, in part, as you know, to some of views that you have expressed about matters which we believe, if propagated in Australia, would not be in the Australian national interest. And my government, fully consistent with impeccable credentials of free speech, has the right to take that action. And I don't resile from it, I don't apologise for it, and I believe that if it is in the national interest of my, uh, of my country to take decisions of that kind, uh, then we do. Taking in relation to other people, we will continue to do so where appropriate and any democratic country consistent with its principles of free speech has a perfect right to do so.

Irving: Thank you for that courteous and shoddy answer!

Ramaphosa: Sir, you only have one chance -

© Focal Point 1999 David Irving