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 Return serve to Djokovic who fights visa cancellation

15.01.22.  The world watches with disgust the pos and cons as Australia’s Immigration Minister Alex Hawke, behaving like a Covid infected sloth, has intervened to cancel the visa of world No.1 tennis player Novak Djokovic for a second time, just days ahead of the Australian Open, sparking a late-night court appeal by the Serb to stay in the country. The decision throws into chaos Djokovic’s attempt to claim a ­record 21st grand slam title and pull ahead of rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, with the Serb named the number one seed for the Australian Open, which he has already won a record nine times. Djokovic’s lawyers – who succeeding in reversing the initial decision by Border Force to cancel the tennis champion’s visa – appeared before Federal Circuit Court judge Anthony Kelly seeking a hearing on Sunday to reverse Mr Hawke’s decision.

Source: Joe Kenny and Remy Varga, NCA

Judge Kelly ordered Djokovic not be removed from Australia until the court case had been resolved and transferred proceedings to the Federal Court.
Judge Kelly said the commonwealth will also not detain Djokovic until 8am Saturday morning when he must present at a location agreed upon between the parties. The hastily called late-night court hearing finished at 11.12pm.
Nick Wood SC, for Djokovic, argued that a hearing was urgent because his client was due to play either Monday night or Tuesday night. Mr Wood indicated his case would challenge Mr Hawke’s assertion, given in his reasons for cancelling the player’s visa, that if Djokovic were allowed to stay in the country it would fan anti-­vaccination sentiment.
Djokovic had claimed a medical exemption to enter the tournament on the grounds he was infected with Covid-19 in December but Australian immigration entry requires double vaccination against Covid-19.
Mr Hawke, in a statement ­issued late on Friday afternoon, said he used his powers under section 133C (3) of the Migration Act to intervene and cancel the visa on “health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so”.
“In making this decision, I carefully considered information provided to me by the Department of Home Affairs, the Australian Border Force and Mr Djokovic,” Mr Hawke said. “The Morrison government is firmly committed to protecting Australia’s borders, particularly in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Home Affairs officials were in talks on Friday night with the tennis star’s lawyers. Senior government sources said Djokovic would be allowed to stay in his current ­location for the time being.
The grand slam champion is understood to be staying in luxury accommodation in Melbourne that includes a tennis court, and was set to be interviewed by Home Affairs officials on Saturday.
Just hours before the decision to deport him, Djokovic was practising at Melbourne Park on Friday after being confirmed at the head of the Australian Open draw in his bid for a 10th title. The number one seed was slated to take on fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round.
Scott Morrison said Mr Hawke’s action was taken on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so. “This pandemic has been incredibly difficult for every Australian but we have stuck together and saved lives and livelihoods,” the Prime Minister said.
“Together we have achieved one of the lowest death rates, strongest economies and highest vaccination rates in the world.
“Australians have made many sacrifices during this pandemic, and they rightly expect the result of those sacrifices to be protected. This is what the minister is doing in taking this action today.”
Following an adverse decision made under section 133C (3), Djokovic would not be able to be granted a visa again for a period of three years unless he received an exemption or special waiver.
Government sources said an exemption could only be granted in “compelling circumstances that affect the interests of Australia” or in “compassionate or compelling circumstances affecting the interests of an Australian citizen or permanent resident”.
Djokovic is attempting to revive his battered public reputation. His team revealed he had donated $1m to the Australian Open’s junior tennis program. In a Facebook statement in which he was called “a hero in the resistance movement against small bullies”, Djokovic’s team also outlined his past $25,000 charitable contribution to efforts to rebuild Australian towns after the black summer bushfires of 2019-20.
The post also listed monies for Covid-19 projects such as €1m to Italian hospitals, €1m to Serbian hospitals, an unspecified amount to Spain and, again, an unspecified amount for poor children at the Melbourne City Mission.
The intervention was taken after Djokovic admitted his travel declaration to enter Australia contained false information and that he had made an “error of judgment” after attending public events in Serbia following his ­December 16 test, which returned a positive Covid-19 result.
In his affidavit to the Federal Court, Djokovic said he tested positive for Covid on December 16. But after photos emerged of the sportsman maskless at a children’s tennis event in ­Belgrade on December 17, Djokovic issued a new statement on January 12 saying he did not discover the positive result until after the event.
Djokovic was also in Serbia in the two weeks before he flew to Australia from Spain, conflicting with his declaration that he had not travelled in the past 14 days.
The tennis champion said in his January 12 statement this was the result of an “administrative mistake”.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said the drawn-out decision-making process revealed the government had been caught flat-footed and should have ensured the tennis star was never granted a visa in the first place.
Djokovic arrived in Australia late on January 5 and was interrogated for about eight hours by Australian Border Force officials.
His visa – initially granted on November 18 – was cancelled, with ABF officers saying his ­recent positive Covid diagnosis was not grounds for a vaccine exemption.
But the federal government was forced to concede in a court battle on Monday that the tennis champion had been denied procedural fairness and the Federal Circuit Court overturned the cancellation of his visa at the airport.
Additional reporting: Jacquelin Magnay, Ivica Profaca

Video source: Sky News and WION

{ 30 comments… add one }
  • Pensioner Pete 15/01/2022, 7:12 am

    PP trusts the federal court chucks this visa revocation out too, and quickly.

    This whole situation is about the Coalition acting desperately to retain government come the May federal election, it is most certainly NOT about keeping Australians safe or any of the other hubris (bullshit) the government spruiks.

    • DT 15/01/2022, 10:21 am

      Your dislike of the Federal Government and you ignoring facts, like “Mr Hawaii” repeats ignoring Acting Prime Minister protocol and that bushfires are State Government, Premiers & Cabinet but handled by State Emergency Services in NSW which of course includes Rural Fire Service and others, knows no bounds.

      Most of the international tennis players complied with our Immigration laws and at least one other who didn’t has left without being deported.

      You might have considered that if Djokovic was innocent why he failed to sign declarations personally as required by law. Why did he, according to reports, break the law in his own country and in Spain before flying here.

      The answer I believe is that he is a very focused competitor who is also opposed to vaccination, unlike all of the other tennis players now here for the competition, and a very wealthy person who is used to getting what he wants, according to reports from people who know him well.

      You might have missed the judgement basis at the Federal Court appeal, procedural error based and not questioning the validity of the laws and international arrivals. And the laws are what the Minister has obviously based his decision on, and of course with legal advice and considering other matters that would have been put to him by Tennis Australia, the Labor Government of Victoria has backed out, Premier Dan supports upholding the vaccination entry requirement.

      If election politics is involved you should consider the Victoria Health panel clearance basis and Tennis Australia’s involvement in Federal Immigration matters for which they have no jurisdiction, and therefore misled Djokovic if what he claims is correct.

      But apparently they did not mislead the majority of international players?

      The fact remains whether you support vaccinations or not that an entry requirement is for the foreign visitor or citizen to be vaccinated and many other countries now have the same entry requirement.

      Try to put your prejudice aside along with you finding reason to blame the PM for just about everything and consider the Immigration requirements to enter Australia.

      • Pensioner Pete 15/01/2022, 11:16 am

        Thanks DT, I can always rely on you to provide me with a deal of amusement, not up to the MM funny of the day standard, but nevertheless, gives me a chuckle.

      • JD 16/01/2022, 9:28 am

        Its time to get back to the pen as the shearing is about to start soon…don’t dally now..Baaa

      • JG 16/01/2022, 10:14 am

        Spot on DT
        The Labor states have done a great job for Albo by blaming everything on ScoMo and the Fed government. Sure the Fed gov has made mistakes but the State premiers agree one thing then do as they please.
        Most of stuff ups have been by the States especially Qld, Vic. WA has moved off shore it would seem and just firing shots at the Fed government.
        If people want Albo and the far left greens to run the country then brace for more taxes, more green rules and less jobs.

  • Tamworth 15/01/2022, 7:31 am

    What a statement ! !
    “ The Morrison Government is firmly committed to protecting Australia’s borders, particularly in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    I thank the officers of the Department of Home Affairs and the Australian Border Force who work every day to serve Australia’s interests in increasingly challenging operational environments.”
    A crawl to the Victorian Border Farce who stuffed up by behaving exactly like the Vic Police, except they didn’t pepper spray Djokovic, preceded by sheer political advertising.
    Then the grounds! Hawke had the chance to give proper legal grounds, couldn’t find any so went with a bullshit ‘health risk’ after two panels of doctors declared he wasn’t. In case that didn’t work, used a vague ‘public policy.’
    One thing good about it – it has stripped away the ‘Australian’ pose as a conservative newspaper. It is just as bloody-minded authoritarian as Pravda.
    Even Fairfax was more balanced in reporting – and that’s not saying they were balanced.

    • Alan 15/01/2022, 7:43 am

      I’ll add to the remark about The Australian.
      It turns out Djokovic has donated millions to charity-some to Australian matters, but the press says this was an attempt to ‘revive his battered public opinion’
      This is Hate Journalism.
      Next they will be getting fashion ‘experts’ to laugh at his haircuts, or taste in ties.

      • BBob 15/01/2022, 8:17 am

        Steve Waterson wrote in today’s Weekend Australian:
        “…his motives were primarily mercenary..”

        I commented:

        I don’t think it fair to make that claim – he’s wealthy (net worth commonly quoted as $US200+ million) and maybe he’s primarily motivated by the prospect of enhancing his already mega-impressive winning record.

        REJECTED, as most of my comments are

      • ibbit 15/01/2022, 11:44 am

        referring to the BBob comment – I would say his behaviour is ego driven before all else. It has been commented on several times in media reports that he wants to overtake and surpass Federer and Nadal, so that is his driving motive.
        The fact he had to obey an entry requirement was not going to stand in the way of this.
        Turf him out, I say and keep him out. He and his ego are not loss to tennis.

  • Graham Richards 15/01/2022, 7:44 am

    All those commenting must therefore be just as vociferous about letting in a petulant liar while Australian citizens are prevented from returning.

    Get your minds into gear folks. Stop lashing out just for the sake of something to whinge about!!

    • Bluey 15/01/2022, 7:49 am

      You led with your chin there, Graham.
      What has petulance got to do with it?
      Is it to be one of the grounds for cancelling a visa that was given?
      As for being a a ‘liar’ that’s not one of the grounds Hawke used for his second go – and he would have if he could have.

      • Bob 15/01/2022, 7:59 am

        You have nailed it Bluey, it took them days to work out , their next move, perhaps ‘would fan anti vaccination sentiment ‘do the trick ??It confirms my stand , that our politicians are a waste of time and incompetence on display .

    • DT 15/01/2022, 10:25 am

      Graham “minds into gear” is very difficult for some commentators here, but they are not alone in the wider internet blog world,

      • Albert 15/01/2022, 11:08 am

        Does that mean that you and Graham are right and the rest of us are wrong?

    • Albert 15/01/2022, 11:11 am

      On the subject of petulant liars I would draw your attention to the majority of politicians both state and federal and the inconvenient truth about covid.

      • Pensioner Pete 15/01/2022, 11:23 am

        Albert: The lies are now being exposed at an ever increasing rate of knots for just a few days ago, one of the boss cockies of Pfizer admitting the chemical concoctions called Covid vaccines do not work, and then the vaccine for the Omicron is untested, unproven whilst this chemical concoction is about to be inflicted upon the populace, one really must wonder about our politicians who support these poisons being jabbed in both the willing and unwilling.

        Now we have as the government claims, 90%+ vaccinated in Australia with a parallel massive outbreak of Covid, one would need to be a complete and utter dill, not to see the co-relation between the jabs and Covid outbreaks.

    • Aktosplatz 15/01/2022, 12:23 pm

      Graham said, “Australian citizens are prevented from returning.”.

      He is referring to the Double Standards in operation.I would have thought that is more important. If people want Djokovic to stay let the Govt do the right thing but also allow stranded Australians to return home.

  • Bob 15/01/2022, 7:51 am

    Here we go again ! What a farce it has become , a ‘Health Risk’ give me a break ,
    Steve Watson of the Australian 15thJan:Quote:
    There were cynics who doubted the clowns who run this country could maintain their high standards of idiocy into this third year of pandemonium, but here they come again, tripping over their giant shoes as they enter the ring. Buffoons of that pedigree were never going to let us down.
    True to their vision, we’re trapped in a miasma of bumbling incompetence, leavened with spiteful, vindictive meddling in our private lives. Polka-dotted bowler hats off to them, I say.Unquote

    • BBob 15/01/2022, 8:20 am

      Steve Waterson in case anyone is wondering who Steve Watson is.

  • Xword 15/01/2022, 8:06 am

    Tennis Grand Slams will be that much easier to win now that there are only three of them on the calendar.

  • Big Toe Hurts 15/01/2022, 8:55 am

    No doubt the federal government have cocked up, but the feeling remains that this was all engineered by the Victorian premier who was adamant that only double vaccinated players would be able to enter the state and compete in the Australian open. Knowing full well the Australian immigration requirements why did the premier then accept a medical exception, contrary to his stated position?

  • Botswana O'Hooligan 15/01/2022, 8:59 am

    The World’s politicians, bureaucrats, and the medical profession threw common sense and logic out the window over two years ago by ignoring the various freedoms guaranteed to the populace by their various constitutions, sort of a reverse form of anarchy, the rulers and not the populace running crazy. This farce is a demonstration of what happens when the rule of law is trashed, chaos, and it’s not going to get any better.

    • Moree 15/01/2022, 9:59 am

      Good one.
      The predictable outcome of trashing rights for the good of the world.
      The very root of communism.

  • Disgruntled 15/01/2022, 9:09 am

    This whole thing is a storm in a teacup and many are trying to make that storm into a category 5 cyclone.

    Actually I feel a fair bit sorry for the guy; He may be what many claim but at the end of the day he has achieved a lot. Many others with similar achievements don’t really act any better either and one has to wonder if it is the tall poppy syndrome! He is also using some of his fortune well in the support that he gives others and that is commendable.
    With me it is DILLIGAF. Most of the tennis is but I don’t mind when the attractive sheilas are really battling it out trying hard.

    There are far far too many very important things to get worried and excited about than this issue. Maybe I am too soft and silly!

    This whole saga is about as interesting as watching grass grow; And lets face it there are a lot of places in Australia where grass doesn’t grow so I guess the people living in those places would like to watch it grow!!

    • Aktosplatz 15/01/2022, 11:23 am

      I agree, Dis. I am not a tennis fan anyway. But the whole COVID issue is totally trashed by the Double Standards everywhere. We have seen grieving families in anguish being prevented from seeing loved ones in crisis. Some have been bereaved without being allowed to say goodbye.

      Many have died alone.

      Djokovic, bless his cotton socks, has ‘clout – with – money’ so he is able to have his deportation case looked at eagerly and quickly. Lucky man!

      This is once again, reminding me that we are ‘not’ all in this together.

      In fact we let people die alone:-


  • Max 15/01/2022, 9:19 am

    There are Aus pollies that should be very afraid of the coming Gesara.
    Their life will never be the same again.

    • Bluey 15/01/2022, 9:56 am

      Flying saucers,
      Cups and saucers,
      Breaking up my happy married life.

  • mischevious 15/01/2022, 10:36 am

    hope he beats them in the court and on the court.

    • Pensioner Pete 15/01/2022, 11:26 am

      Agreed, mischevious.

  • Simon Thompson 15/01/2022, 1:14 pm

    I can plainly see that this fiasco is distracting us from the fact that
    a year ago no covid vaxes were given in Australia and there were 10
    cases on 14/1/2021. On the 14/1/2022 there were 150 000 cases diagnosed
    though they have vaccinated 91% of the population. There has never been
    a better demonstration of the Emporer’s new clothes. In the first half of last year there was 1 covid death, now there are several dozen a day.
    I normally don’t watch tennis, but am noticing these vaccinated champs
    pulling up lame. Regardless of whether Novak gets to play, the tournament casualties will be an epic “Vaccine Resistance” demonstraion.

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