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Australian government revokes Novak Djokovic’s visa again

Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has canceled Novak Djokovic’s visa for the second time. The move comes days after a federal court overturned the company’s initial ruling.Australian Border Force to cancel the visa of the unvaccinated tennis star.

According Alex Hawkethe decision to cancel the Australian visa of Novak Djokovic is based on reasons of health and good order. Furthermore, he clarifies that it is “in the public interest to do so. Australia’s immigration minister says he carefully reviewed the information provided by Australia’s Home Secretary, theAustralian Border Force and Novak Djokovic before making this decision. Finally, he recalls that the Morrison government is “strongly committed” to protecting Australia’s borders, especially during the pandemic.

Novak Djokovic can appeal this decision in court. However, his chances of winning are slim, as the Australian Immigration Minister’s powers over visa cancellations are very broad. Indeed, under the section 133C(3) of the Australian Migration Acta minister can cancel an individual’s visa if the holder poses a risk to the “health, safety or good order” of the country, among other things.

It is not yet known what the consequences of this decision, or the probable legal challenge of the tennis champion, will be on the Australian Open, which is due to start on Monday January 17. Novak Djokovic has won the tournament nine times. He is the competition favorite and a win would see him break his tie with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the most Grand Slam titles (21).

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the decision to cancel Novak Djokovic’s visa was taken for “reasons of health and good order”, adding: “Australians have made many sacrifices during this pandemic, and they expect rightly so that the result of these sacrifices is protected. That is what Minister Hawke is doing by taking this step today. Our strong border protection policies have kept Australians safe, before covid and during the pandemic.”

Earlier this week, former Australian tennis player and Member of Parliament, John Alexander, wrote in a Facebook post that Novak Djokovic appeared to have met all health entry requirements and posed no unreasonable risk to Australia: “The Minister’s ‘personal powers to cancel visas’ are designed to prevent criminals from circulating on our streets, or to prevent an infectious person from circulating on our streets. They are not designed to help address a potential political problem.”

The cancellation of Novak Djokovic’s visa is the latest event in the standoff between the Australian authorities and the world tennis star, who has long criticized the vaccines against covid-19. Novak Djokovic has been granted a medical exemption to compete at the Australian Open, despite not being vaccinated. However, after landing in Melbourne last week, border officials held him at the airport for several hours before revoking his visa, believing he did not meet Australia’s strict vaccine requirements. for foreign travelers. The Serbian tennis player’s legal team appealed the decision in court and Novak Djokovic was taken into immigration detention at a hotel in Melbourne. On Monday January 10, the federal court in Melbourne ruled in favor of the tennis player and ordered the Australian government to reinstate his visa. In his decision, the judge said the cancellation of the visa was “unreasonable” because Novak Djokovic did not have time to consult with others on the issues raised by border officials.

On Wednesday January 12, Novak Djokovic admitted to having participated in an interview and a photoshoot in December, when he knew he was positive for covid-19. In a statement posted on Instagram, the Serbian player apologized for this “error in judgement”. In his statement, he tried to clarify the circumstances surrounding his contamination after several questions were raised about the veracity of his covid-19 test. Novak Djokovic has also admitted to making a false statement on his Australia travel form, calling it human error.

Last minute : The Australian government agrees to stay the expulsion of the country of Novak Djokovic the time of the procedure initiated by the legal team of the Serbian player.

Article translated from Forbes US – Authors: Siladitya Ray and Joe Walsh

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