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Australian Immigration Minister cancels Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic’s visa

I exercised my power under section 133C (3) of the Migration Act to cancel the visa held by Novak Djokovic.” Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke

Error of judgement.” Novak Djokovic

Australian Immigration Minister cancels Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic’s visa

14 January 2022

(See Translation in Arabic Section)

Sydney - M E Times Int'l: The Federal Government has decided to cancel Novak Djokovic’s visa because it was “in the public interest to do so”, casting serious doubt over whether the 20-time grand slam champion will compete in the Australian Open.

The decision to cancel Djokovic’s visa was overturned in the Federal Circuit Court but Federal Immigration Minister Alex Hawke still had the final say on whether the world No. 1 is allowed to stay in the country.

Hawke was tasked with choosing whether the 34-year-old was a risk to the health and safety of the Australia community, but “lengthy further submissions” from Djokovic’s legal team delayed a decision.

And Hawke finally came to a decision, invoking his discretionary power and immediately seeking to deport the tennis star.

I exercised my power under section 133C (3) of the Migration Act to cancel the visa held by Novak Djokovic on health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so,” Hawke said in a statement.

This decision followed orders by the Federal Circuit and Family Court on 10 January 2022, quashing a prior cancellation decision on procedural fairness grounds.

Novak Djokovic: Immigration Minister says he is still 'thoroughly  considering' visa cancellation | PerthNow

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke

In making this decision, I carefully considered information provided to me by the Department of Home Affairs, the Australian Border Force and Mr. Djokovic.

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.”

Djokovic’s lawyers are expected to seek an immediate injunction which would allow him to stay and play his first round of the Australian Open in Melbourne pending an expedited trial.

However, if he doesn’t challenge the decision in the courts, he will be immediately deported from the country.

Djokovic would be banned from being granted another visa for three years if he doesn’t successfully appeal the decision – however this can be waived.

The decision sparked a huge reaction from people across the globe as social media exploded in reaction. Everyone from newsreaders, politicians, tennis commentators and local barflies have weighed in on what has become a major international story over the past week.

Veteran tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg said the saga may not be over yet, with Djokovic still able to appeal. He also faces a potential three-year ban from re-entering the country, but has not yet been removed from the 2022 tournament draw.

We wait to see if, when, and how Djokovic might appeal this decision. We also await clarity on if Australia would seek to enforce the three-year ban from reentering the country that can accompany such a deportation order. Djokovic has not yet been removed from #AusOpen draw,” he tweeted.

Djokovic said he attended a basketball game in Belgrade on December 14, after which several people tested positive to Covid.

He then attended a tennis event in Belgrade to present awards to children and was notified of a positive PCR test result after the event, an event at which Djokovic was pictured maskless with children.

Djokovic also admitted on social media to going through with an interview and photo shoot on December 18 despite knowing he was Covid-19 positive.

He didn’t tell anyone at L’Equipe he had contracted the virus, calling it an “error of judgement” that saw him slammed on social media.


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