Australia’s immigration minister, Alex Hawke, has re-cancelled the visa of reigning Australian Open tennis champion.
Alex Hawke’s statement on Djokovic
Good evening, Mostafa Rachwani with you today, covering Novak Djokovic’s visa cancellation.
We begin with the statement from immigration Minister Alex Hawke on the decision, saying he “carefully considered” information provided to him:
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.
The decision has also thrown the Australian Open draw into chaos, with Djokovic drawn as the top seed earlier this week.
Djokovic was eyeing a record 10th Australian Open and the men’s record for most grand slams at the upcoming tournament – all hopes that have been dashed.
According to the Grand Slam’s rule book, Djokovic’s withdrawal after the completion of the draw means his slot in the draw will go to No. 5 seed Andrey Rublev.
It is unclear as of yet how Tennis Australia will react themselves though.
So, what does that mean now?
Firstly, it means Djokovic, the No 1 men’s tennis player in the world, is banned from Australia for three years.
The cancellation issued by Hawke is classified as an adverse decision under section 133C(3), which means Djokovic cannot be granted another visa while offshore for the three years.
There are exceptions granted in “certain circumstances,” and the Serbian star is sure to appeal the decision, so that may come into play in the coming days.
The Australian immigration minister, Alex Hawke, has again cancelled Novak Djokovic’s visa.
Djokovic’s visa was first cancelled by a delegate of the home affairs minister last Thursday, on the basis a recent Covid infection by itself was not sufficient for an exemption from vaccination requirements and, since he was unvaccinated, Djokovic could pose a risk to public health.
The visa was restored by a federal circuit court judge ruling in Djokovic’s favour on Monday, but government lawyers immediately put the world No 1 on notice that Hawke could still exercise a personal power to re-cancel the visa.
On Wednesday, Djokovic conceded his agent made an “administrative mistake” when declaring he had not travelled in the two weeks before his flight to Australia and acknowledged an “error of judgment” by not isolating after he tested positive for Covid on 16 December.
Hawke’s decision, announced on Friday evening, indicates the minister is satisfied cancellation was in the public interest.