Novak Djokovic's Visa Cancelled by Australian Immigration Minister
Novak Djokovic's visa has been cancelled on 'health and good order grounds'.
Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has used his discretionary power to cancel Novak Djkovic's visa after a Federal Court had overturned the earlier cancellation of his visa, on Monday.
The men's world number one, who is looking to win a record 10th Australian Open title, is likely to appeal the decision in the Australian Federal Circuit and Family Court, but the case may move into next week even as the tournament kicks-off on Monday.
Djokovic entered Australia on a medical exemption with the country's immigration laws not allowing anyone not fully vaccinated to enter the country. However, he claimed he had tested positive for Covid-19 on 16 December which was the grounds for the medical exemption granted to him. On his arrival in Melbourne on 5 January though, Djokovic was detained by the immigration authorities and his visa cancelled. That decision was overturned by a Judge on Tuesday but Friday's call by the Minister has been made on 'health and good order grounds'.
In a statement issued on Friday, Hawke said, "Today I exercised my power under section 133C(3) of the Migration Act to cancel the visa held by Mr Novak Djokovic on health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so.
"This decision followed orders by the Federal Circuit and Family Court on 10 January 2022, quashing a prior cancellation decision on procedural fairness grounds. 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.”
Australian PM's Statement
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who refused to comment on the matter on Thursday, issued a statement following Hawke's decision.
“I understand that following careful consideration, action has been taken by the Minister to cancel Mr Djokovic’s visa held on health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so,” Morrison said.
“This pandemic has been incredibly difficult for every Australian but we have stuck together and saved lives and livelihoods.
“Together we have achieved one of the lowest death rates, strongest economies and highest vaccination rates, in the world.
“Australians have made many sacrifices during this pandemic, and they rightly expect the result of those sacrifices to be protected.
“This is what the minister is doing in taking this action today.
“Our strong border protection policies have kept Australians safe, prior to Covid and now during the pandemic.”
Djokovic Had Admitted to Mistake in Visa Form
On Wednesday, Djokovic had been forced to issue a clarification via social media after reports emerged that he was seen at public events on two consecutive days following his Covid positive report on 16 December. There was also false information provided in his Australia immigration form, that he claimed was an 'administrative error' by his manager.
"On the issue of my travel declaration, this was submitted by my support team on my behalf -- as I told immigration officials on my arrival -- and my agent sincerely apologies for the administrative mistake in ticking the incorrect box about my previous travel before coming to Australia," Djokovic said.
Djokovic had claimed he had not travelled outside Serbia in the 14 days preceding his travel to Melbourne, although he was seen in Spain just days before.
"This was a human error and certainly not deliberate,' he wrote in his statement. "We are living in challenging times in a global pandemic and sometimes these mistakes can occur. Today, my team has provided addition information to the Australian Government to clarify this matter."
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