Men’s No. 1 tennis player Novak Djokovic is allowed to play in the Australian Open again after a judge quashed the decision to cancel his visa – but the Australian Government has issued a new threat to cancel the visa regardless. The Telegraph has the story.
The 20-time grand slam champion will be released within the hour and have his passport returned to him following a dramatic conclusion to a bizarre day in federal court.
However, the fiasco threatens to continue after it was revealed immediately after the verdict that Australia’s immigration minister has retained the right to exercise personal power to revoke Djokovic’s visa again.
The tennis star was detained at a Melbourne airport on Thursday after authorities said he did not meet COVID-19 vaccination requirements.
He was subsequently taken to the Park Hotel, a quarantine facility in the city, after being held at the airport overnight and was told he would be removed from the country.
But on Monday a federal judge jumped to Djokovic’s defence and demanded to know what more the tennis star could have done to prove to Australian authorities that he was entitled to enter the country.
Admitting he was “somewhat agitated”, Judge Kelly said the tennis star had provided evidence from “a professor and an eminently qualified physician” about a medical exemption.
“What more could this man have done?” the judge demanded.
After a lengthy adjournment, Judge Kelly read out a minute agreed by both parties to make the ruling, and he also ordered the Government to cover Djokovic’s legal costs.
The world No. 1 can now theoretically begin preparations for defending his title at the Australian Open on Monday but could face another legal battle.
Immediately after the ruling, Christopher Tran, a lawyer representing the Australian Government, informed the court that immigration minister Alex Hawke reserves her personal power to remove Djokovic from Australia and said that they are considering a second notice of cancellation.
Shocking that even when the Government is told it has mistreated a person – who should be an honoured guest in the country – and ordered to pay his legal costs it doubles down by continuing to threaten him with deportation using the Minister’s ‘personal power’. That’s tyranny, right there, folks.
Worth reading in full.
Stop Press: The Spectator‘s Emily Hill says Djokovic has earned the right to have an opinion on whether he would benefit from being vaccinated.