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Australia visa rules force UK cricket journalists to leave before tour ends

By Jane Mower

Updated Thu 23 Jan 2014, 4:42pm AEDT


PHOTO: Only seven England players, including captain Alastair Cook, have stayed for the whole tour.(Getty Images: Gareth Copley)

Faced with having to leave Australia 10 days before the end of England’s disastrous tour may for some sound like compassionate leave.

But for three UK tabloid journalists who have been following the team’s highs and lows since the start of the 100-day tour, it’s a devastating blow.

Changes to temporary work visas mean they can only stay for 90 days and will have to leave in the next few days.

Cricket Australia says it tried to arrange for them to stay, but without success.

“Throughout the tour we have been aware that the last 10 days would not be covered by the visa, but we were consistently told the matter would be resolved and we would be able to stay,” John Etheridge from the Sun newspaper said.

“Cricket Australia has been very helpful and proactive but it seems that all their good work has come to nothing.”

An extra 10 days and I might finally get to see England win a game.


Sun newspaper journalist John Etheridge

Etheridge, who has covered six Ashes tours, and Dean Wilson, who works for the Mirror, were granted three-month work visas which expire on Saturday.

Paul Newman, who works for the Daily Mail, arrived two days later on the same type of visa.

Do you think the Department of Immigration should step in to allow the journalists to stay? Leave your comments below.

“I have done six Ashes tours and it’s never been a problem in the past,” Mr Etheridge said.

“Paul arrived a couple of days after us so he’ll be able to cover the games in Adelaide next week, but then he’ll have to leave.”

Determined not to accept his fate, Etheridge has tweeted Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, urging them to step in.

“I expect he’s got more important things to worry about,” the press pack veteran reluctantly admitted.

England, which will play the fourth of its five-match one-day series in Perth on Friday, still has to play the final game in Adelaide before three Twenty20 games next week.

“I’ve not seen my family for three months so it will be great to see them but there is a sense of frustration that I won’t be able to complete the job,” Mr Etheridge said.

“It would be great to hang on in the hope they (England) might win a game somewhere.

“An extra 10 days and I might finally get to see England win a game.”

The Prime Minister’s office has not responded.

Topics: sportcricketjournalismimmigrationaustraliaunited-kingdom


First posted Thu 23 Jan 2014, 4:09pm AEDT


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