Immigration Minister Alex Hawke announced last Friday that tennis star Novak Djokovic would have his visa revoked for a second time leading the Serbian to be deported.
In a statement Mr Hawke gave reasoning for his decision to cancel the visa a second time causing Djokovic to miss out on the Australian Open.
“Today I exercised my power under section 133C(3) of the Migration Act to cancel the visa held by Mr Novak Djokovic on health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so,” he said.
“In making this decision, I carefully considered information provided to me by the Department of Home Affairs, the Australian Border Force and Mr Djokovic,”
After the statement was released, Djokovic’s legal team took immediate action to appeal the decision however the Federal Court ruled unanimously to dismiss the appeal. Djokovic said of the decision that he was dissatisfied with the result.
“I am extremely disappointed with the Court ruling to dismiss my application for judicial review of the Minister’s decision to cancel my visa, which means I cannot stay in Australia and participate in the Australian Open,” he said in a statement.
“I respect the Court’s ruling and I will cooperate with the relevant authorities in relation to my departure from the country.”
Although Djokovic has been complicit with the ruling, his father Srdjan Djokovic likened the treatment of his son as “the attempt to assassinate the best athlete in the world”. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that he welcomed the decision “to keep our borders strong and keep Australians safe” while also stating that “it’s now time to get on with the Australian Open and get back to enjoying tennis over the summer”.
The decision to yet again cancel Djokovic’s visa has been met with mixed reactions online with one twitter user @ramaestre stating “I’m extremely disappointed with Djokovic’s attitude. He has been deported and of course won’t be able to play the AO2022. Good decision by the Australian authorities”. While another twitter user pointed out “Djokovic is not the only unvaccinated player who is in the Australian Open. He is the only one who has been deported though. That sounds like discrimination?”.
The visa saga began when Djokovic entered the country on January 5 and was stopped by the Australian Border Force for not having adequate documents surrounding his medical exemption with his visa then subsequently being cancelled. He was later detained by authorities at The Park Hotel while waiting for a decision on his appeal to reinstate the visa with Judge Kelly granting it be restored.
After the appeal was successful, Mr Hawke stated that he would decide to exercise a personal power to cancel Novak’s visa. It took five days for the minister to revoke the decision and a total of about 10 ten days for the Djokovic debacle to come to an end.
With Djokovic now officially out of the Australian Open his spot has been taken by Salvatore Caruso. The Italian tennis player is ranked 150th in the world and will go up against world No.78 Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic at Rod Laver Arena later this evening.
Djokovic left Melbourne Airport earlier this morning.