14th January 2022 – (Sydney) The Federal Government has decided to cancel Novak Djokovic’s visa because it was “in the public interest to do so”, casting serious doubt over whether the 20-time grand slam champion will compete in the Australian Open.
Last week’s decision to cancel Djokovic’s visa was overturned in the Federal Circuit Court on Monday, but Federal Immigration Minister Alex Hawke still had the final say on whether the world No. 1 is allowed to stay in the country.
Hawke was tasked with choosing whether the 34-year-old was a risk to the health and safety of the Australia community, but “lengthy further submissions” from Djokovic’s legal team delayed a decision.
And Hawke finally came to a decision on Friday afternoon, invoking his discretionary power and immediately seeking to deport the tennis star.
“Today I exercised my power under section 133C (3) of the Migration Actto 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,” Hawke said in a statement.
“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.
Djokovic’s lawyers are expected to seek an immediate injunction which would allow him to stay and play his first round of the Australian Open pending an expedited trial next week.
However, if he doesn’t challenge the decision in the courts, he will be immediately deported from the country.