Greg Roberts | December 22, 2007
JEWISH and Serbian community leaders have attacked a decision by Immigration Minister Chris Evans to grant a visa to controversial Croatian rock singer Marko Perkovic.
Senator Evans decided yesterday not to overrule a decision byhis department to allow Perkovic to travel to Australia next week for a four-state concert tour sponsored by the Croatian community.
Perkovic will be told he must not "vilify, incite discord or represent a danger to the community" during his visit.
Senator Evans made the decision after departmental officers viewed footage of a concert by Perkovic in July in the Croatian capital, Zagreb. The footage shows fans using Nazi salutes and chanting "Kill the Serbs".
Perkovic's critics say his songs eulogise Croatia's fascist World War II Ustashi regime, which killed 700,000 Serbs, Jews and gypsies. George Marinkovic, publisher of Melbourne's Serbian Voice newspaper, said he was appalled by the visa decision.
"Here is the Labor Government, which got the votes of many Serbian people, betraying us," he said.
B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission director Manny Waks said the Jewish community was dismayed. "It is very disappointing that as one of its first acts, the Labor Government is promoting a person who is a beacon for racists and neo-Nazis," he said.
Perkovic will perform before 3000 fans at a concert in Melbourne's Festival Hall next Saturday. He had been scheduled to perform at the Melbourne Knights Soccer Club premises, but the club cancelled the booking when it was revealed by The Australian in October.
Perkovic will also perform at the home of the Sydney United soccer team, the Croatian Sports Centre in Adelaide and the Burswood Theatre in Perth.
Senator Evans declined to comment yesterday.