Staggering new details emerge after Mike Tyson banned from Australia

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·Sports Editor
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Mike Tyson, pictured here at the Celebration of Smiles event in Malibu, California in December.
Mike Tyson at the Celebration of Smiles event in Malibu, California in December. (Photo by JC Olivera/Getty Images)

Newly-released cabinet documents have revealed how a decision to stop boxing legend Mike Tyson entering Australia in 2001 went all the way to the top.

The previously private papers from John Howard's cabinet in 2001 were made public by the National Archives of Australia on Saturday.

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Among the biggest revelations is how Tyson failed the character test set for travellers entering Australia.

The American boxing legend was convicted of raping an 18-year-old woman in 1992.

He was sentenced to six years in prison, but was granted an early release in 1995.

Then-immigration minister Philip Ruddock wrote to Howard in April of 2001 stating that Tyson failed the character test under the Migration Act 1958 due to his criminal record. 

The cabinet decided it was inappropriate to grant Tyson a visa to enter the country, but noted that the final decision rested with the immigration minister.

At the time, the federal cabinet backed Ruddock's discretion to block Tyson’s application because he was not of “good character”.

Tyson eventually visited Australia for six days in 2012 after the Gillard government granted him a visa.

However he was barred from entering New Zealand due to the 1992 rape conviction.

Mike Tyson, pictured here celebrating after victory over Dane Brian Nielsen in 2001.
Mike Tyson celebrates after victory over Dane Brian Nielsen in 2001. (Photo credit should read JENS NOERGAARD LARSEN/AFP via Getty Images)

National cabinet also looked at Eminem visa

The newly-declassified trove of documents also reveal how cabinet weighed in on the visa application of high-profile rapper Eminem on character grounds.

Marshall Mathers III, who uses the stage name Eminem, was sentenced to two years' probation in the US months earlier for carrying a concealed weapon.

Ruddock took into consideration the views of other cabinet members and ultimately decided to rubberstamp his visa, allowing the performer's two-day tour.

John Howard, pictured here giving a speech during the Liberal Party's victory celebrations in Sydney in 2001.
John Howard gives a speech during the Liberal Party's victory celebrations in Sydney in 2001. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Now 55, Tyson is considered to be one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time.

He was the undisputed world heavyweight champion from 1987 to 1990 and remains the youngest boxer ever to win a heavyweight title.

After his release from prison he regained the WBA and WBC titles in 1996, joining Floyd Patterson, Muhammad Ali, Tim Witherspoon, Evander Holyfield and George Foreman as the only men in boxing history to regain a world heavyweight championship after losing it.

After retiring in 2005, Tyson made a comeback to the ring in November of 2020 in an exhibition bout against Roy Jones Jr.

with AAP

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