Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has issued an appeal over Novak Djokovic’s visa situation, prompting a huge reaction around the world.
The decision to send Novak Djokovic home drew a huge reaction from people around the world after the much-awaited announcement on Friday afternoon.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke made the decision just before 6pm AEDT yesterday, revoking the nine-time Australian Open champion’s visa “on grounds of health and good order”.
He claimed it was “in the public interest to do so”.
Djokovic admitted to having filled out his Australian travel declaration form incorrectly when he ticked a box stating that he had not traveled within 14 days of flying to Australia, despite evidence that he was traveled from Serbia to Spain in the two weeks before leaving for Melbourne.
However, the world number 1 said his agent filled in the form for him.
“It was human error and certainly not deliberate,” he said, blaming “the difficult times of a global pandemic” for the error.
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Last week’s decision to revoke Djokovic’s visa was overturned by the Federal Circuit Court on Monday, but Mr Hawke still had the final say on whether the 20-time Grand Slam champion was allowed to stay in the country.
A direction hearing is being held in the Federal Circuit Court on the Djokovic matter.
Djokovic has sought an urgent injunction to stop the government deporting him and with the Australian Open fast approaching, the tennis world number one wants his case decided on Sunday.
As expected, social media exploded in reaction to the decision
Every local newsreader, politician, tennis commentator and barflie has weighed in on what has become a major international story over the past week.
Veteran tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg says the saga may not be over yet, with Djokovic still attractive. Djokovic also faces a potential three-year ban from returning to the country, but has yet to be removed from the 2022 tournament draw.
“We are waiting to see if, when and how Djokovic could appeal this decision. We are also awaiting clarification on whether Australia would seek to enforce the three-year ban on re-entry that may accompany such a deportation order. Djokovic has not yet been removed from the #AusOpen draw,” he tweeted.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison briefly commented on the decision but refrained from adding more “due to expected ongoing legal proceedings”.
“Australians have made many sacrifices during this pandemic, and they rightly expect the outcome of those sacrifices to be protected,” he said on Friday evening.
“That is what the minister is doing by taking this action today. Our strong border protection policies have kept Australians safe, before Covid and now during the pandemic. »
Tweets kept coming in from around the world as the world woke up to the news.
Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd slammed the Federal Government for the debacle, saying Mr Morrison was trying to show voters how “hairy” he was.
Opinions on the cancellation of his visa varied wildly, from people who believed his attempt to enter Australia posed a real health risk to a nation with hundreds of thousands of active cases, to others who believed that its cancellation was an indictment of justice and set a dangerous precedent for travellers. entry into the country based on a personal medical decision.
Once again, former British politician Nigel Farage intervened, strongly criticizing the government’s decision and calling Australia a “banana republic”.
“Australia really is a banana republic. Djokovic expelled on public health grounds as if the unvaccinated were lepers. This is the exercise of arbitrary power overruling a court decision. Australia has become a mean and authoritarian state,” he tweeted.
Others, like New York Times Journalist Gabe Hudson, opined that Djokovic “literally turned into a bio-weapon and came in like a conqueror who doesn’t care (sic) about their laws or their ppl (sic)”.
In the world of tennis, Britain’s great Andy Murray said: “I’m not going to sit here and start kicking Novak while he’s down. I said the other day, this is not a good situation for anyone.
In Australian media, host of The project Lisa Wilkinson cut to the chase moments after the decision was made, discussing the situation with Australian tennis legend Rennae Stubbs.
“Friday night at 6 p.m., posting a story is a classic political move if you want to kill a story, but I don’t think it will be killed. How do you think Novak will feel right now? Wilkinson asked.
“I think I’m sad, probably a little angry. A little puzzled. Uncertain. You name it. I’m not in his head but I suspect, I have a feeling he’s going to try to fight that at some point,” Stubbs replied.
“Misjudgment”: Novak’s big confession
On Wednesday, Djokovic explained exactly what he did in the days before and after testing positive for Covid last month.
In a statement on Instagram, Djokovic said he attended a basketball game in Belgrade on December 14, after which a number of people tested positive for Covid.
He said he took a rapid antigen test on December 16, despite having no symptoms, which came back negative, and then out of “an excess of caution” also took a PCR test the same day.
“The next day (December 17) I attended a tennis event in Belgrade to give prizes to children and I took a rapid antigen test before going to the event, and it was negative “Djokovic wrote.
This is the event in which Djokovic was photographed without a mask with a group of children.
“I was asymptomatic and feeling fine, and I had only received notification of a positive PCR test result after this event,” he continued.
Djokovic also admitted on social media that he conducted an interview and photoshoot on December 18, when he knew he tested positive for Covid-19. He did not tell anyone at L’Equipe that he had contracted the virus, calling it an “error in judgement” which saw him criticized on social media.