Australia cancels Novak Djokovic’s visa again

Refusal to the tennis pro
He can’t stay after all: Novak Djokovic’s visa canceled for the second time

Immigration minister doesn’t want Novak Djokovic in Australia. Is this the end of the Serbian tennis star?

©Brandon Malone/AFP

Novak Djokovic threatens to quit the Australia Open. Immigration Secretary Alex Hawke said the 34-year-old’s visa was canceled again.

Australian Immigration Secretary Alex Hawke has used his personal right to revoke the visa for unvaccinated tennis pro Novak Djokovic. This was well justified and “in the public interest,” said the minister. Djokovic is also threatened with a three-year visa ban. The document in which the immigration minister explained his move was released via Twitter.

It was initially unclear whether the 34-year-old Serb would appeal against Friday’s decision and possibly still be able to take part in the Australian Open.

The authorities had already refused Djokovic entry upon arrival last week and classified the documents presented for his TUE as insufficient. However, because he was not given enough time to react, a judge overturned the entry ban during a court hearing on Monday. Immigration Minister Hawke announced that he would make a decision on Djokovic’s residency status later this week. In addition, the government had announced that it would continue to withdraw the visa from the tennis professional.

Novak Djokovic becomes a political ordeal

On Wednesday, Djokovic denied having falsified his entry documents. At the same time, however, he acknowledged mistakes in dealing with his positive test result. The case sparked displeasure among Australians. They had long lived under lockdown and social distancing unprecedented in the world.

In the Djokovic case, politicians saw a diversionary maneuver by the current government, which is intended to conceal failures in its own corona policy. Now, too, government critic and former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd took the renewed cancellation as an opportunity to rail against the government under Scott Morrison. He wrote on Twitter: “What a surprise! (…) A political distraction from empty shelves and the national lack of boosters and rapid tests.”

Labor Party leader Kristina Keneally called the decision an “embarrassing and absurd incident” that could have been avoided.

What’s next?

The former deputy secretary of the Ministry of Immigration, Abul Rizvi, said in an interview with broadcaster ABC that Djokovic could be remanded in custody. “I assume he will return to the same detention center he was in before,” said Rizvi. He assumes that Djokovic’s lawyers will request a judicial review of the immigration minister’s decision.

Immigration Secretary Alex Hawke based his decision to revoke the visa on the Migration Act. Under the 1958 directive, the Secretary of State for Immigration can withdraw a visa if a person poses a risk – such as a health risk – to the Australian population. The power to annul is enshrined in Section 133C(3) of the Migration Act.

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According to the law, tennis pro Djokovic can now not apply for a visa to Australia for three years “except under certain circumstances”. “Certain circumstances include compelling circumstances affecting the interests of Australia or compelling circumstances affecting the interests of an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen,” the ministry’s website said.

Sources: With material from DPA, AFP, BBC, The Guardians


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