World reacts to Australia’s Novak Djokovic visa decision
Friday - 14/01/2022 07:33
Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has made a call on Novak Djokovic’s visa situation, sparking a huge reaction around the globe.
The decision to send Novak Djokovic home has sparked a huge reaction from people across the globe following the hotly anticipated announcement on Friday afternoon.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke made the decision just before 6pm AEDT, cancelling the nine-time Australian Open champion’s visa “on health and good order grounds”.
He claimed it was “in the public interest to do so”.
“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,” a statement attributed to the Immigration Minister read.
“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.”
Djokovic admitted to incorrectly filling out his Australian Travel Declaration form when he ticked a box saying he had not travelled in the 14 days before flying to Australia, despite proof he had gone from Serbia to Spain in the two weeks before departing for Melbourne.
However, the world No. 1 said his agent filled the form out for him.
“This was a human error and certainly not deliberate,” he said, blaming “challenging times in a global pandemic” for the mistake.
Watch Tennis Live with be IN SPORTS on Kayo. Live Coverage of ATP + WTA Tour Tournaments including Every Finals Match. New to Kayo? Start Your Free Trial >
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 20-time grand slam champion was allowed to stay in the country.
Djokovic has sought an urgent injunction to prevent the government from deporting him and given the rapidly approaching Australian Open, the tennis world number one wants his case to be decided on Sunday.
As expected, social media exploded in reaction to the decision
Everyone from newsreaders, politicians, tennis commentators and local barflies have weighed in on what has become a major international story over the past week.
Veteran tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg said the saga may not be over yet, with Djokovic still able to appeal. He also faces a potential three-year ban from re-entering the country, but has not yet been removed from the 2022 tournament draw.
“We wait to see if, when, and how Djokovic might appeal this decision. We also await clarity on if Australia would seek to enforce the three-year ban from reentering the country that can accompany such a deportation order. Djokovic has not yet been removed from #AusOpen draw,” he tweeted.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison briefly commented on the decision but refrained from adding more “due to the expected ongoing legal proceedings”.
“Australians have made many sacrifices during this pandemic, and they rightly expect the result of those sacrifices to be protected,” he said Friday evening.
“This is what the Minister is doing in taking this action today. Our strong border protection policies have kept Australians safe, prior to Covid and now during the pandemic.”
Tweets kept rolling in from around the globe as the world woke to the news.
Djokovic visa cancelled on the grounds of “public interest” relating to “health” and “good order”.
1. With covid cases in the hundreds of thousands, how can it be “health”?
2. How can one person whose job is hitting a ball with a racquet be a threat to civic “order”?
Opinions on his visa cancellation varied wildly, from people believing his attempt to enter Australia posed a genuine health risk to a nation with hundreds of thousands of active cases, to others who believed his cancellation was an indictment of justice and set a dangerous precedent for travellers entry to the country based on a personal medical decision.
Once again, former UK politician Nigel Farage weighed in, strongly criticising the government’s move and labelling Australia a “banana republic”.
“Australia really is a banana republic. Djokovic deported on the grounds of public health, as if the unvaccinated are lepers. This is the exercise of arbitrary power overruling a court judgement. Australia has become a nasty, authoritarian state,” he tweeted.
Others, like New York Times reporter Gabe Hudson, believed Djokovic “literally turned himself into a bioweapon and arrived like some conqueror who doesn’t give sh*t abt (sic) their laws or ppl (sic)”.
Over in the tennis world, UK great Andy Murray said: “I am not going to sit here and start kicking Novak while he is down. I said it the other day, it is not a good situation for anyone.”
Novak Djokovic Visa cancelled again by Australian immigration minister. Absolutely insanity. 1 day after the official draw is out. The Australian government must be scrutinized and held accountable for their pathetic actions. pic.twitter.com/RBiXFDMPvh