Novak Djokovic, the world number one tennis player, is facing deportation after the Australian government cancelled his visa for the second time.
Three days before the Australian Open, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said he exercised his ministerial discretion to withdraw the 34-year-old Serb’s visa on public interest grounds.
Djokovic’s attorneys are anticipated to file an appeal with the Federal Circuit and the Family Court, as they did with the last cancellation.
Hawke claimed he revoked the visa for “health and good order reasons” and because it was in the public interest.
Hawke referred to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, saying, “The Morrison Government is fully committed to securing Australia’s borders, particularly in respect to the COVID-19 epidemic.”
Morrison praised Djokovic’s impending deportation, claiming that Australia has one of the world’s lowest pandemic mortality rates, strongest economy, and greatest immunization rates.
“Australians have made numerous sacrifices throughout this epidemic, and they have every right to expect the fruits of those efforts to be safeguarded,” Morrison said in a statement. “This is what the minister is doing today when he takes this step.”
Returning to Australia is normally prohibited for three years after deportation.
Djokovic’s visa has been revoked for the second time since he arrived in Melbourne last week to defend his Australian Open title.
The Victoria state government and Tennis Australia, the event organizer, both granted his exemption from the COVID-19 immunization requirement. As a result, he was able to get a travel visa.
However, when he arrived in Melbourne, the Australian Border Force denied his exception and cancelled his visa. Djokovic was held in an immigration detention hotel for four nights until the ruling was reversed by a court on Monday.
Djokovic’s attorneys have a “very tough” assignment getting court orders over the weekend to allow their client to participate next week, according to Melbourne-based immigration lawyer Kian Bone.
“It would be exceedingly tough for Djokovic to acquire the results he needs to play over the weekend,” Bone remarked.
Hawke’s procrastination was bordering on punishing, according to Bone.
“I believe from a strategic sense, he’s (Hawke’s) really hamstringing Djokovic’s legal team in terms of what type of alternatives or remedies he could have if you left it any later than he has now,” Bone said hours before the judgment was published.
To get two urgent orders, the attorneys would have to appear before a duty judge of the Federal Circuit and Family Court or a higher court of the Federal Court.
One order would be an injunction to keep him from being deported, similar to the one he received last week. The second would need Hawke to provide a visa to Djokovic in order for him to compete.
“That second order is nearly unheard of,” Bone explained. “The courts very infrequently order a member of the executive branch to grant a visa.”
If Djokovic had infringed Australia’s vaccination laws, a powerful independent senator, Jacqui Lambie, believed that he should be expelled.
But, only hours before the visa cancellation was confirmed, she bemoaned Hawke’s slowness in making a decision.
“How come this keeps dripping from the faucet?” Where have you gone, Alex Hawke? “Are you missing in action?” Lambie had inquired.
“How are you people governing the country if you can’t make a decision on Novak Djokovic?” “This is a complete disaster,” she continued.