By the National Reporting Team's Dan Oakes Saturday 15 November 2014
General Georgios Epitideios
A member of parliament for the ultra-right Greek political party Golden Dawn has cancelled his visit to Australia after his visa application was stalled.
The ABC revealed earlier this year Georgios Epitideios, a former army general, was coming to Australia to raise money and address supporters of the controversial Greek political party in Melbourne and Sydney.
"Pressure was applied to the Australian Government by a number of individuals, and it looks like that pressure has paid off," Golden Dawn's representative in Australia, Ignatius Gavrilidis, told the ABC this morning.
The proposed visit by General Epititdeios and another member of the European parliament had drawn sharp criticism from a range of sectors of society, including members of the Greek and Jewish communities.
Victorian state MP Nick Kotsiras said in August Golden Dawn had no place in Australia and was not representative of the broader Greek community.
Golden Dawn has been condemned in Europe for its anti-immigrant policies, violence against leftists and immigrants and use of Nazi imagery.
The party's leader and other members of parliament were arrested and charged last year with membership of a criminal organisation after a party member stabbed a left-wing activist to death outside an Athens cafe.
Mr Gavrilidis told the ABC Australian officials in Europe had not granted General Epitideios a visa in time for his visit to Australia, and the General had consequently cancelled his trip.
He said the officials had "asked the General to fill in different forms, apply for different visas" and that it was clear the process was being deliberately complicated.
"The General will be lodging a complaint with the Australian Government and with the European human rights body," Mr Gavrilidis said.
"The Zionists in Australia do fear Golden Dawn, the Greek community leaders have a lot of fear, but I don't know why.
"The General was coming here to inform Australians of Hellenic origin, and Australians generally, about the truth of what is occurring in Greece, but people sometimes fear the truth."
In an interview with the ABC in August, Mr Gavrilidis denied the party was Neo-Nazi, but said some members admired Adolf Hitler as a "strong leader", just as they admired Vladimir Putin and Benjamin Netanyahu.
He said the party had considerable support among Greek Australians, particularly younger people, which was measured not by actual membership numbers but by popularity on social media.
Mr Gavrilidis said Golden Dawn in Australia shared the concerns of fellow far-right parties about Muslim immigration in particular.