THE Peace Train may not make it Down Under if a south-west MP has his way.
And the same MP also has a bone to pick with bongs, but that's another story.
Western Victoria MP Peter Kavanagh yesterday called on the federal government to deny British singer-songwriter Cat Stevens, now known as Yusuf Islam, entry into Australia because he allegedly supports an order to murder controversial author Salman Rushdie.
The singer courted controversy in 1989 when he was asked about the fatwa calling for the death of author of The Satanic Verses ?? considered blasphemous by Muslims. Mr Islam has subsequently denied any support for a fatwa against Mr Rushdie.
"Yusuf Islam, previously known as Cat Stevens, is due to give a concert tour later this month," Mr Kavanagh said.
"Although Yusuf now denies supporting attempts to murder Rushdie, he is on record at the time for stating that he wanted to see Mr Rushdie himself burn, not just an effigy of him, and he would like to have reported Mr Rushdie's whereabouts to those who were trying to murder him.''
Mr Kavanagh said the Peace Train singer should be denied entry into Australia because he did not support freedom of expression.
"Yusuf has evaded on this matter for years," he said. ''I call on the Minister for Immigration to deny Mr Yusuf a visa to enter Australia unless he publicly and categorically states that he does not and will not support the murder of any person for the expression of views, no matter how offensive."
Yusuf Islam is due to tour Australia next month ? the first time in 36 years that he has performed a concert in the country.
Meanwhile, Mr Kavanagh's bill to ban the retail sale of bongs was defeated in the state upper house this week.
The bill, which would have banned the display of items used for marijuana use was voted down, 16 to 14 .
"But passage of this bill will end the open display of hundreds of bongs in shop windows which is happening, among many other places, just a few minutes walk from state parliament in Bourke Street.
"Our present laws give some shops a financial incentive to get young people addicted to cannabis," he said.
Mr Kavanagh said he believed some Labor MPs that spoke against the bill seemed almost supportive of cannabis.
Eastern Victoria Labor MP Johan Scheffer said marijuana usage in Victoria had reduced by three-quarters in less than 20 years.
He said the state government had initiated an awareness campaign directed towards youth warning of the dangers of illicit drug use.
"The fact that the government will not be supporting this bill should in no way be understood as implying that the government is unaware of the dangers of cannabis use or that no effective action is already being taken," he said.