Scott Morrison says Novak Djokovic is being deported because Australians have 'made many sacrifices' due to Covid and must be kept safe
- Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has made a decision on Novak Djokovic's visa
- World number one to be deported, may be barred from Aussie visa for 3 years
- Scott Morrison said Australians' Covid sacrifices need to be protected
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the cancellation of Novak Djokovic's visa was 'in the public interest' and that Australians have the right to expect that their 'many sacrifices' during the pandemic would be protected.
The PM issued a statement backing the decision on Friday evening after the unvaccinated world top men's player tennis was finally blocked in his bid to play in the Australian open.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke used his discretionary powers to cancel Djokovic's visa on Friday, four days after the federal government had backed down on sending him home.
'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.'
The PM said that Aussies have a right to expect that the sacrifices they made during Covid would be 'protected'
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the cancellation of Novak Djokovic 's visa was 'in the public interest'
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.'
What Scott Morrison finally said about Novak Djokovic
'I note the Minister for Immigration's decision in relation to Novak Djokovic's visa.
I understand that following careful consideration, action has been taken by the Minister to cancel mr Djokovic's visa on health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so.
This pandemic has been incredibly difficult for every Australian but we have stuck together and saved lives and livelihoods.
Together we have achieved on the of the lowest death rates, strongest economies and highest vaccinations, in the world.
Australians have made many sacrifices during this pandemic and they right expect the result of those sacrifices to be protected.
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.
Due to the expected ongoing legal proceedings, I will not be providing any further comment.'
- Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison
Officials said Djokovic, who is unvaccinated for COVID-19, may pose a risk to the community, dashing his hopes of competing for his 21st grand slam.
The cancellation means Djokovic could be barred from a new Australian visa for three years, except under certain circumstances.
Djokovic's legal team was reportedly told of his visa cancellation 20 minutes before the media, and is now in discussions with the Federal Government. If his lawyers do appeal, they want it to be a 'streamlined trial' to be completed by Sunday, The Age reported.
Djokovic has been advised to attend an interview with immigration officials on Saturday - and it is believed he will remain out of detention until that is completed.
An Australian Open win would have made him the most successful tennis player in history, pushing him ahead of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal with 21 Grand Slams.
Now Nadal has the chance to overtake his rival.
Legal experts say it would be difficult - if not impossible - for Djokovic to successfully challenge a visa cancellation decision made personally by the Immigration Minister.
Immigration lawyer Kian Bone told the ABC that it would be 'extremely difficult' for Djokovic's lawyers to get court orders over the weekend to enable him to play in the Australian Open next week.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke (pictured) said Djokovic's visa was cancelled 'on health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so'
In answer to the question: 'Have you travelled, or will you travel, in the 14 days prior to your flight to Australia?' whoever filled out Djokovic's travel declaration form selected 'no'. That means the 34-year-old tennis player would have needed to remain in the same country since December 21. But social media images appeared to show that he was in Belgrade, Serbia, on December 25 and then in Marbella, Spain, from December 31 until catching his flight to Australia, via Dubai, and landing in Melbourne on January 5
'For Djokovic to get the outcomes he needs to play would be extremely difficult to obtain over the weekend,' Mr Bone said.
In a statement Mr Hawke said: '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.
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