The key reasons behind Novak Djokovic’s visa cancellation have been revealed with Immigration Minister Alex Hawke saying his presence in Australia may ‘foster anti-vaccination sentiment’.
The world No.1 was detained by Border Force following an interview at a secret location on Saturday morning before his lawyers began his court battle to fight his deportation.
His case will be heard again on 9.30am on Sunday morning and has been moved to the Federal Court of Australia.
Mr Hawke announced on Friday he had cancelled the Serbian tennis star’s visa for a second time, citing a long list of reasons including that Djokovic showed an ‘apparent disregard’ to isolate following a positive test result.
‘I consider that Mr Djokovic’s ongoing presence in Australia may lead to an increase in anti-vaccination sentiment generated in the Australian community, potentially leading to an increase in civil unrest of the kind previously experienced in Australia with rallies and protests which may themselves be a source of community transmission,’ Mr Hawke said as seen in court documents.
The key reasons behind Novak Djokovic ‘s visa cancellation have been revealed with Immigration Minister Alex Hawke saying his presence in Australia may ‘foster anti-vaccination sentiment’
Court documents show the reasons for Mr Hawke’s cancellation of Djokovic’s visa
Djokovic also posed a ‘risk to the good order of the Australian community’, Mr Hawke said, in that his stay in Australia may create ‘public disruption’ to values of the Australian society
He added that Djokovic’s stance on vaccinations may lead to others refusing to get jabbed, and reinforcing the beliefs of the unvaxxed.
Djokovic’s lawyers argued Mr Hawke ‘cited no evidence that supported his finding that Mr Djokovic’s presence in Australia may ”foster anti-vaccination sentiment”,’
‘It was not open to the Minister to make that finding,’ they said.
Mr Hawke also referenced an interview the tennis star had with a French publication, two days after testing positive to Covid. Djokovic earlier addressed the matter and said it was an ‘error of judgement’.
‘Given Mr Djokovic’s high profile status and position as a role model in the sporting and broader community, his ongoing presence in Australia may foster similar disregard for the precautionary requirements following receipt of a positive Covid-19 test in Australia,’ the immigration minister said.
Djokovic also posed a ‘risk to the good order of the Australian community’, Mr Hawke said, in that his stay in Australia may create ‘public disruption’ to values of the Australian society.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke (pictured) cancelled Djokovic’s visa for a second time. The Serbian star is fighting his deportation
He added that the unvaccinated pose a greater risk of catching the virus and spreading it around the community.
‘I consider that it would be in the public interest to cancel Mr Djokovic’s visa,’ he said.
‘These matters go to the very preservation of life and health of many members of the general community and further are crucial to the maintaining the health system in Australia, which is facing increasing strain in the current circumstances of the pandemic,’ Mr Hawke concluded.
Djokovic’s lawyers made their submissions during the online Federal Court hearing presided by Judge David O’Callaghan at his solicitors’ offices at 10.15am.
Australia has cancelled Novak Djokovic’s visa for a second time, the country’s immigration minister announced on Friday. Pictured: Djokovic rests during a training session at Melbourne Park on Friday
The court failed to come to a decision whether the hearing will be presented before a full court with the matter to be decided later today.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC’S AUSTRALIAN OPEN SAGA
Novak Djokovic’s defence of his Australian Open title remains in doubt after Australian immigration officials cancelled his visa for the second time.
Here’s how the saga has unfolded:
Jan 4: Djokovic tweets that he is on his way to the Australian Open under a medical exemption. He writes on Instagram: ‘I’ve spent fantastic quality time with my loved ones over the break and today I’m heading Down Under with an exemption permission. Let’s go 2022!!’
Jan 5: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison warns Djokovic he will be on the ‘next plane home’ if his medical exemption is deemed insufficient, and is adamant Djokovic will not receive preferential treatment.
Jan 5: Djokovic’s visa is cancelled upon his arrival in Melbourne. The Australian Border Force announces that the player ‘failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements for Australia’.
Jan 6: Djokovic is sent to the Park Hotel in Melbourne after being refused a visa. He launches an appeal, which is adjourned until 10am on January 10. Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic says Djokovic is the victim of ‘persecution’.
Jan 9: Djokovic’s lawyers claim he was granted a vaccine exemption to enter Australia because he recorded a positive Covid-19 test in Serbia on December 16. However, social media posts suggest he attended a number of social events in the days following his apparent diagnosis.
Jan 10: Djokovic’s visa cancellation is quashed by Judge Anthony Kelly, who orders the Australian Government to pay legal costs and release Djokovic from detention within half-an-hour. Djokovic says he is ‘pleased and grateful’ and wishes to ‘stay and try to compete’.
Jan 11: Djokovic’s title defence remains in doubt as the Australian Immigration Minister ponders whether to over-ride the court’s ruling, reportedly due to an alleged misleading claim made by Djokovic on his entry form relating to his movements in the 14 days prior to arrival in Australia.
Jan 12: Djokovic admits making an ‘error of judgement’ by attending an interview with a French journalist while Covid positive. He adds that, although he attended a children’s tennis event the day after being tested, he did not receive notification of the positive test until after the event.
Jan 13: Djokovic is drawn to face fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round.
Jan 14: Immigration minister Minister Alex Hawke cancels Djokovic’s visa for a second time, saying in a statement it was ‘on health and good order grounds’.
Reporting by PA
The 34-year-old athlete has since been transported to detention where he will spend the night in detainment until the next court hearing at 9.30am on Sunday – just one day before the Australian Open is due to kick off.
If his case is unsuccessful, the tennis great will be deported and he could be barred from receiving a new Australian visa for three years.
Legal experts say it would be difficult – if not impossible – for Djokovic to successfully challenge a visa cancellation decision made personally by the Immigration Minister.
Protests have been predicted and the federal government can expect an international backlash in response to its decision, particularly from Serbia.
The saga first began when the megastar flew into Melbourne airport on January 5 claiming a vaccine exemption because of a positive PCR test result on December 16.
Border agents rejected his exemption, tore up his visa and placed him in a notorious Melbourne detention centre where he spent four nights.
The Federal Government insists a recent infection does not qualify as a vaccine exemption for foreign nationals trying to enter the country.
Djokovic’s top-flight legal team dramatically overturned the visa decision because border officials at the airport had failed to give him the agreed time to respond.
He was released, but has since admitted providing false information on his travel entry form, which incorrectly claimed he had not travelled in the 14 days before his arrival in Melbourne, despite visiting Spain.
Djokovic has also conceded he breached Serbia’s isolation rules after learning he had tested positive to the virus on December 16.
He said he had been interviewed in person by a French newspaper while infected with Covid, and blamed his agent for the ‘administrative error’ on his travel entry form.
The discrepancies emerged after Djokovic issued a lengthy Instagram statement on Wednesday to clarify ‘misinformation’ about his movements while positive with Covid.
‘I want to address the continuing misinformation about my activities and attendance at events in December in the lead-up to my positive Covid test result,’ it began.
‘I want to emphasise that I have tried very hard to ensure the safety of everyone and my compliance with testing obligations.’
Djokovic admitted doing a interview and photo shoot L’Equipe while infected with Covid as he had a long standing commitment to do so.
‘I cancelled all other events except for the L’Equipe interview,’ Djokovic said.
‘I felt obliged to go ahead and conduct the L’Équipe interview as I didn’t want to let the journalist down, but did ensure I socially distanced and wore a mask except when my photograph was taken.’
He also addressed the ‘human errors’ on his travel declaration which failed to declare that he had visited Spain in the 14 days before his arrival at Melbourne Airport.
‘This was submitted by my support team on my behalf – as I told immigration officials on my arrival – and my agent sincerely apologises for the administrative mistake in ticking the incorrect box about my previous travel before coming to Australia,’ Djokovic continued.
‘This was a human error and certainly not deliberate. We are living in challenging times in a global pandemic and sometimes these mistakes can occur.
‘Today, my team has provided additional information to the Australian government to clarify this ‘matter.’
Djokovic had been granted a medical exemption to play in Melbourne by Tennis Australia. He believed he had met criteria set by Australia’s advisory board on immunisation and been given a federal government declaration he could travel.
JANUARY 5, AUSTRALIA: Novak Djokovic stands at a booth of the Australian Border Force at the airport in Melbourne on January 5 after arriving from Spain, via Dubai