By Matthew Roscoe • 14 January 2022 • 8:12
THE Australian government has announced that they have cancelled the visa of defending Australian Open champion, Novak Djokovic, once again. He is now set to be deported despite being granted clearance to take part in this year’s tournament.
Novak Djokovic‘s fate lay in the hands of Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke who had been tasked with choosing whether the world number one was a risk to the health and safety of the Australian community.
And today (January 14) Hawke announced that Djokovic’s visa was being cancelled for a second time: “It has been cancelled for reasons of health and good order, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so,” said the minister.
Rumours had persisted about whether the 34-year-old would be able to defend his title after revelations that he had lied on his visa application and had actually travelled within the 14 days of landing in Melbourne after visiting Spain’s Marbella for some practice sessions.
Hawke continued: “Today I exercised my power under section 133C(3) of the Migration Actto cancel the visa held by Mr Novak Djokovic.
“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 20-time Grand Slam winner’s legal team is expected to appeal against the minister’s decision in a bid to allow him to stay and play in the Australian Open.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: “Australians have made many sacrifices during this pandemic and they right expect the result of those sacrifices to be protected’, Mr Morrison said in a statement on Friday.
“This is what the minister is doing in taking this action today.”
Mr Morrison repeated that the decision was made on “health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest”.
He also framed the decision as connected to Australia’s tough border policies.
“Our strong border protection policies have kept Australians safe, prior to Covid and now during the pandemic.”
British tennis player Andy Murray was asked about the decision: “I’m not going to sit here and start kicking Novak while he’s down. I mean, I said it the other day, it’s not a good situation for anyone,” the Scot said.
Djokovic is now set to face a hearing on Saturday to determine his future in the competition and the country.
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Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]
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