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Chris Brown cancels Australia tour due to visa warning over conviction

Chris Brown at a probation violation hearing in LA
Chris Brown at a probation violation hearing in LA

Chris Brown has cancelled plans for a Down Under tour after Australian authorities warned the troubled R&B singer that they were likely to refuse him a visa because of his criminal conviction for assaulting his former girlfriend, pop star Rihanna.

Ticketing agency Ticketek posted a statement from Brown's promoters saying the planned December tour of Australia and New Zealand had been cancelled and those who had bought tickets would receive refunds.

Citing privacy concerns, Australia's immigration department refused to say whether it had refused Brown a visa. But in September the department issued him a "notice of intention to consider refusal" which required the US singer to explain why he should be allowed into the country.

New Zealand immigration authorities say Brown, 26, withdrew his visa application before they ruled on it.

In the Ticketek statement, Brown thanked his fans and said he hoped he could tour "in the near future".

Australia's visa warning came days after former immigration minister Michaelia Cash urged authorities to refuse the Brown 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'," Ms Cash, who is now minister for women, said.

During his tour, Brown had been due to play one show in Auckland, New Zealand.

New Zealand authorities said that because Brown had been banned from some other countries, he would have needed a special visa to be allowed entry. They said he had applied for a visa previously, in 2008, which was granted.

Activists in Australia had campaigned to ban the singer from the country because of his brutal attack Rihanna, hours before the 2009 Grammy Awards. He pleaded guilty to felony assault and was freed from probation this year.