Tennis player Novak Djokovic’s appeal for cancellation of visa has been confirmed in the Federal Court of Australia.
After Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s decision to revoke Djokovic’s visa a second time on the grounds of “health and good order”, a brief procedural hearing was held after both legal teams made hasty appearances.
In it, Justice David O’Callaghan confirmed that the case has been transferred from the Federal Circuit Court and the main hearing will take place on Sunday at 9.30 a.m. (10.30 p.m. Saturday UK time).
Djokovic is set to play his fellow Serbian Miomir Kekmanovic in their first round match of the Australian Open on Monday.
A timetable was agreed upon, with Djokovic being detained for a meeting with immigration officials before meeting with his lawyers. He was then expected to be detained overnight, possibly back at the Park Hotel.
The world number one legal team revealed that their grounds for appeal will focus on the irrationality of the decision, with the threshold of success much higher than at the first hearing.
It emerged that Hawke based not on the legality or otherwise of Djokovic’s medical exemption, but on anti-vaccination sentiments and the potential for his continued presence in the country to pose a threat to public order.
Hawke cited Djokovic’s status as a “high-profile unaffiliated person who has publicly indicated that he is opposed to vaccination against COVID-19” and that he “publicly expressed anti-vaccination sentiment”. Of”.
Hawke said he believes not revoking visas could encourage Australians not to get the vaccine, adding to the pressure on healthcare.
“I think his current presence in Australia could pose a risk to the good order of the Australian community,” he said.
Hawke attached significant importance to Djokovic’s confession that he had participated in an interview with l’Equipe last month despite learning he had tested positive for Covid-19 and argued that the Australian could follow suit. Huh.
“I have also noted the fact that Mr Djokovic has, in the past, shown a clear disregard for the need to isolate after receiving a positive Covid-19 test result,” he said.
Djokovic’s release from detention on Monday resulted in police peppering his supporters, and Hawke cited the possibility of civil unrest, though his lawyers would argue the same could have resulted in his deportation.
Meanwhile, Hawke dismissed Djokovic’s argument that revoking his visa would be considered politically motivated or would jeopardize the viability of the country hosting the Australian Open.
Djokovic waited as a judge overturned the original decision on Monday to find out whether Hawkes would use his powers to reintroduce the penalty.
And, just before 6pm (7am UK time) yesterday, Hawke issued a statement, saying: “Today I called for the Migration Act to cancel a visa held by Mr. Novak Djokovic on grounds of health and good order.” exercised his power under section 133C(3), on the ground that it is in the public interest to do so.
“This decision follows the orders of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of January 10, 2022, setting aside prior cancellation decisions based on procedural fairness.
“In making this decision, I have carefully considered the information provided to me by the Department of Home Affairs, the Australian Border Force and Mr. Djokovic.
“The Morrison Government is strongly committed to protecting Australia’s borders, particularly in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The decision means that Djokovic also faces a three-year ban from the country, which could mean he will never play at the Australian Open again, although this can be waived.
The situation has dominated global news since Djokovic was detained at Melbourne airport last Thursday morning, when Border Force officials concluded he did not have the correct paperwork to enter the country.
The nine-time Australian Open champion was exempted from strict coronavirus vaccination rules for arrival in the country on the basis of a positive test last month via Tennis Australia.
Two other persons – Czech player Renata Vorakova and an official – were later told with the same exemption that they could not remain in the country and were released before Judge Anthony Kelly ruled in Djokovic’s favor on Monday.
Djokovic went to Melbourne Park straight after being freed and has practiced every day since then, but his hopes of staying in the country have faded as weeks went by after revelations about his behavior after his positive test.
He also admitted that his manifesto falsely claimed that he had not traveled in the 14 days prior to his trip to Australia, which he attributed to the fault of his agent.
The way the Australian government has handled the situation has been severely criticized but public opinion has been in favor of Djokovic’s deportation.
Sympathy has also been in short supply from his fellow players, many of whom were skeptical of getting the vaccine, with world number four Stefanos Tsitsipas telling India’s WION news channel: “A very small group followed their own way. Chosen and it kind of makes the majority look like they’re all idiots.”
Andy Murray said in a more cordial tone after his win over Reilly Opelka in Sydney: “It’s not a good position. I’m not going to sit here and kick Novak while he’s down. Not a good situation either.
“I just want it to be resolved obviously. I think it would be good for everyone if it happened. It seems like it’s been dragged on for quite a long time, and it’s not good for tennis, Not good for Australian Open, not good for Novak.”
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