The decision was long in coming, but Alex Hawke, the Australian Immigration Minister, finally exercised the authority granted by his position and, in a personal capacity, canceled Novak Djokovic’s visa, who intends to defend the champion title. of the Australian Open that starts in Melbourne next Monday, and that has the number one in the world as its main claim. The Serbian player, whose visa was already invalidated by the country’s Border Forces on Wednesday of last week upon his arrival at Tullamarine airport, was released this Monday, after spending five days isolated in a quarantine hotel and after Judge Anthony Kelly overturned the first arrest warrant. The agents detained him when he disembarked, considering the medical exemption irregular, which, on paper, should allow him to avoid the mandatory 14-day quarantine imposed by Australia on any unvaccinated visitor. Since then, the Immigration, with Hawke in charge, has been evaluating what the next step was, and this one arrived a few minutes before six in the afternoon on Friday – Australian time.
“Today I have exercised my authority under section 133C(3) of the Immigration Act to cancel Novak Djokovic’s visa, for reasons of health and good order, based on the public interest,” Hawke said in a statement. “Before making this decision, I carefully examined the information provided to me by the Department of the Interior, the Australian Border Force and Mr. Djokovic,” continues the minister, before concluding: “The Scott Morrison Government is firmly committed to protecting Australia’s borders. Australia, especially in relation to the covid-19 pandemic.
Alex Hawke, the Australian Minister for Immigration, has canceled Novak Djokovic’s Australian visa “on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so.”
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 14, 2022
The tennis player’s lawyers are expected to appeal imminently a measure that corners Nole a few days after his theoretical debut in the tournament (the draw was held this Thursday), and that could lead to his arrest in the next few hours. In the event that the appeal does not prosper, the procedures for his immediate expulsion from Australia would be initiated. However, before Djokovic will be questioned again by Immigration agents.
Djokovic committed an irregularity in his declaration of entry into Australia, when he answered “no” to the question of whether he had traveled in the 14 days prior to his flight to Melbourne (he arrived on January 6). On December 25 he was in Belgrade and at the end of the year he moved to Marbella, where he trained at the Puente Romano tennis club, and from there he flew to Australia. According to the Serbian, it was a mistake made by his team. In addition, the Serbian tennis player admitted that on December 18 he attended an interview in Belgrade despite knowing that the day before, in which he had already participated in a public event, he tested positive.
The decision to cancel Djokovic’s visa has been made amid strong political tensions within Australia, which is holding national elections in May (current Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s liberal coalition is seeking a fourth consecutive term). The case has also led to a diplomatic clash with Serbia over the “indecent” treatment, according to the Balkan country, that Djokovic received after his first arrest at the airport. On Tuesday, Morrison spoke with Serbian Prime Minister Anna Brnabić. According to the official statement, the premiere He wanted to make it clear to his counterpart that Australian border policies are in no way discriminatory, and that the entire device that was activated had the objective of protecting the country in times of pandemic.
The organization of the Australian Open, hand in hand with the health authorities of the State of Victoria, have decided to reduce the capacity of the stands to 50% ―tickets will stop selling when that percentage is reached―, and the use of masks will be mandatory as long as you are not eating or drinking.
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