SYDNEY (AP) — Chris Brown's plans to tour Down Under were in jeopardy on Sunday after the Australian government formally warned the troubled R&B singer that he is likely to be denied a visa because of his criminal conviction for assaulting pop star Rihanna.
The immigration department issued Brown a "notice of intention to consider refusal," giving him 28 days to present evidence as to why he should be allowed to enter the country, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said in a statement.
The notice comes just days after former Immigration Minister Michaelia Cash urged Dutton to refuse the 26-year-old American a visa on character grounds.
"People need to understand if you are going to commit domestic violence and then you want to travel around the world, there are going to be countries that say to you: 'You cannot come in because you are not of the character we expect in Australia,'" Cash, who is now minister for women, told reporters last week.
The immigration department will decide whether to grant Brown a visa after the 28-day timeframe has expired.
In a statement, Brown's publicist, Nicole Perna, said the singer respected Australia's right to review his visa request and has "faith that a decision will be made with the full consideration of his continued personal growth, on-going philanthropic endeavors and desire to perform for his fans."
Australia isn't the first country to consider rejecting Brown. Britain and Canada have also refused to give him visas.
Brown was expected to arrive in Australia in December for a tour of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. Activists have been campaigning to ban the singer from the country because of his brutal attack on his then-girlfriend, Rihanna, hours before the 2009 Grammy Awards. He pleaded guilty to felony assault and was freed from probation this year.
Brown is also scheduled to play one show in Auckland, New Zealand, as part of his Down Under tour. But because he's been banned from other countries, he would need a special visa to be allowed entry. Immigration New Zealand said in an email Monday that Brown has yet to apply for that visa.
Despite the uncertainty hanging over the tour, tickets for Brown's planned shows in both Australia and New Zealand went on sale Monday.