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January 20, 2022

Djokovic saga exemplifies the joke Australia has become

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Tennis Australia officials and a good number of Aussie tennis fans were relieved to hear the ruling made by Federal Circuit Court Judge Anthony Kelly on Monday that Novak Djokovic can stay in Melbourne – for now.

The judge also issued the world number one’s immediate release from detention.

But the saga is not over yet.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke still retains the power to cancel the tennis player’s visa at any time.

The controversy began when Mr Djokovic arrived in Australia, unvaccinated, with a medical exemption, having already suffered a bout of COVID-19 some months ago.

Border officials detained Mr Djokovic on his arrival in Australia and cancelled his Visa.

Mr Djokovic’s lawyers took the matter to court, arguing that the tennis star had been treated unfairly by Border Force officials and denied due process.

In handing down his findings to the court, exasperated Judge Anthony Kelly remarked: ‘What more could this man have done?’

The court heard that the tennis player met the criteria set by Australia’s advisory board on immunisation, received a travel declaration from the federal government, was granted a medical exemption by Tennis Australia and also provided Border Force officials with evidence of the exemption.

The Judge ruled in favour of Mr Djokovic, finding it was unreasonable for an Australian Border Force official to cancel the visa when the tennis star had believed he had more time to consult lawyers.

He also ordered the Home Affairs Minister, Karen Andrews, that the government would pay costs and take ‘all necessary steps to release the applicant immediately’ from detention.

But the Judge’s decision is not a free pass.

Immigration Minister, Alex Hawke, still has the ultimate power to determine whether Mr Djokovic can stay in Australia, under section 133C(3) of the Migration Act ,which gives the minister sweeping powers to cancel visas..

Under Section 116 of the Migration Act, the Minister has the discretion to cancel a Visa if he believes a person poses a risk to the ‘health, safety or good order of the Australian community or a segment of the Australian community’ or the ‘health or safety of an individual or individuals’.

If Mr Hawke enacts these powers, Mr Djokovic could contest any cancellation of his Visa, although it would not be straightforward, and any legal challenge would need to be rushed through the courts, given that the Australian Open begins in Melbourne next week.

The world has been watching on – thousands of people tuned into the live streaming of the case on YouTube – and the confusion and blame-shifting around the issue has not reflected well upon Australia.

International embarrassment

Documents from Tennis Australia, which were leaked to the media in the past few days, show that the organisation asked the Department of Home Affairs to check the visa paperwork of Novak Djokovic and other players before they boarded planes in their home countries.

The request was denied by department officials, yet had it been granted, it could have prevented the Visa debacle and ensuing international embarrassment.

It’s understood that two panels of medical experts and Tennis Australia both signed off on an exemption, which did not meet the criteria set out by the ABF.

It has been a complex case, but it appears that some of the problems stemmed from the fact that the medical exemption required for bypassing state-based quarantine is completely separate to the federal process for approving entry to Australia for visa purposes.

In other words, a quarantine exemption did not automatically ensure that players were cleared to enter Australia.

In other leaked correspondence, Dr Allison Cairns, an adviser to the chief medical officer of Australia, stated that medical exemptions are a state and territory issue.

Australia’s labyrinthine of confusing rules and regulations

The disparity between approaches by Federal and state and territory Government throughout the pandemic has been, and continues to be, a big problem. Because State and Territory leaders have the authority to put in place their own rules which are not consistent across the country, bewilderment and uncertainty across most of the rules and regulations remains.

Unfortunately, the potential consequences for anyone who inadvertently misunderstands the labyrinthine of convoluted processes and procedures can be very serious.

Misinterpreting or misreading the rules is not necessarily an adequate defence.

As we’ve seen time and again during the COVID-19 pandemic, our governments have a tendency to consider people guilty, until they are able to prove their innocence.

First published at www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/the-djokovic-saga-exemplifies-the-joke-australia-has-become/

Sonia Hickey is a freelance writer, magazine journalist, and owner of ‘Woman with Words’. She has a strong interest in social justice.


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47 COMMENTS

    • Exactly! NoVax could have been vaccinated many, many months ago. He knew well in advance, the barrier to entry into Australia re vaccination status. NoVax has put himself in a predicament all of his own makings. Trying to game the system, weasel his way around the rules all so he can keep trumpeting his anti-vaccination, needs to be knocked on the head by Scomicron and his Immigration Minister Hawke. Send NoVax home – Game, Set and Match to The Vaccination Nation, Australia.

      • Yeh nah, this case is more about challenging the Govt/Media/Pharma vested interests, intertwined relationships and single silver bullet narrative.

        Wouldn’t be wise for the cabal to support mother nature and naturally acquired immunity. Best they push a man-made, profit driven model that feeds further political donations and return favours.

        Go Novax, have not been a fan of you on court, but I for one and plenty more fairdinkum Australians are with you on this one mate!

        Rip another ace into those “healthy” bureaucrats!

        • Surely you can’t be this naive Steve. The LNP so desperate to get the climbing hospitalisations and death rates, the bungling of RATs and vaccine rollouts off the front pages thought they were on a winner. The outrage on the Twittersphere also pointed to the bonus of a Tampa moment ( we will decide …)

          Trouble is the stunt’s backfired badly and no matter what they do they’re likely to look silly. And we taxpayers are left with the bill for Novax’s lawyers.

    • need to have a finger on the pulse Railtrails! It’s about Rio Tinto’s attempt at causing an ecological disaster in Serbia that Novak spoke publicly against – and so did the people of Serbia. AND that a white ant named kunkel is Scott Morriscum’s Chief of Staff – a former Rio Tinto stooge.
      https://au.linkedin.com/in/john-kunkel-32766973

      Look at mining & there you’ll find your root cause of the Earth’s troubles. Greed.

  1. “the joke Australia has become”
    HOW DARE THEY ? ! Can you believe it ?
    Who’s stupid idea that laws, … meant to apply to grieving morners and those on the wrong side of borders during a plague out break ( in order to save lives ) should apply to tennis players with nothing to motivate their travels other than money and their delicate little egos ?
    Hell NO ! We must all pull together to ensure sports people are not inconvienienced by laws ment for mere mortals.
    What,s a few ‘UNINTENDED DEATHS’ compared to the smooth running of Tennis Australia ?
    Cheers, G”)

  2. Novak Djokovic could have had a vaccination and put us all at rest.
    Novak, some of us want Raphael Nadal to win the Australian Open.

  3. Novak claimed, simultaneously, that he was too sick to be required to get vaccinated to come to Australia (the reason he says he was entitled to a medical exemption), but well enough to come here and defend his Australian Open title.

    And people in his own country produced evidence that he as not sick with covid when claims to have been to access this excuse for not getting vaccinated.

    Anyone who thinks he should be allowed to come here needs to consider this and how it clearly indicates that he does not, no matter how dysfunctionally our governments have been on this issue

  4. Can’t help myself but drop this facebook stuff here:
    It turns out that Rio Tinto are involved in an operation in Serbia – which threatens an ecological genocidal/disaster. Djokovic publicly came out in protest against it – with a huge uprising of the Serbian people. We all know where Rio Tinto is registered. Anyway – Scummo’s chief of staff is none other than John Kunkel who is a stooge of Rio Tinto’s
    https://au.linkedin.com/in/john-kunkel-32766973
    I’m unable to repost a picture explaining more about Djokovic’s situation in relation to this.

  5. Are people aware that the Morrison LNP coalition of Catastrophe has had all chook raffles cancelled now for years as they have found themselves incapable of performing them with any real competency?

  6. If your vaccine works, and you’ve taken it then why should Novak’s decision effect you in any way at all.

    Of course we all know it doesn’t CONFER IMMUNITY, nor was it ever even claimed to do so by Pfizer, Moderna et al, only claims made for it were to attenuate symptoms.

    It is NOT A prophylactic disinfecting vaccine.

    So once again, why is this not a personal decision for Novak?

    He has GENUINE IMMUNITY, actual immunity from having had covid.
    That’s far better than the loudmouths in this comment section shilling for Big Pharma’s next record profit because they can still transmit the CORONA COLD-19, the CHINA VIRUS.

    Now, because everyone duped into risking getting the injection feels they have to defend their decision, the seem to harbour vindictive hate for those of us who choose never to.

    • Wrong, wrong, wrong, You’re wrong Steve , so just sit there in your abysmal wrongness !
      You are an abject lesson on the ease with which a little knowledge can be dangerous. The ” GENUINE IMMUNITY” of which you pontificate, has been shown to be very short- term, even double vaccination is only 40% effective, so don’t think us sane people are being smug and vindictive.
      I , for one, have nothing but sympathy for those too self- righteous to protect themselves and more importantly the people who have to come into contact with them.
      Cheers , G”)

    • Stevo, please do catch up. There never has been a CHINA VIRUS. But just for moment say we accept your posit of a CHINA VIRUS, what then say you about the INDIA VIRUS and the SOUTH AFRICA virus. You playing some sort of a Chinaphobe game or Trump game. NoVax Djocovid has “GENUINE IMMUNITY you say. He has been infected twice that we know about ( what don’t we know about?), so this GENUINE IMMUNITY of yours is bollocks.

      • It was literally called the China Virus (as it is a virus emanating from China. Viruses are traditionally named after their place of origin ie; Spanish Flu, German Measles, Ross River Virus etc)until the World Health Organization appealed for media to call it (Co)rona (Vi)rus (D)isease 19 on the 11th February, 2020 in order to quell anti Chinese sentiment.

        • Stevo, some fact checks for you. Spanish Flu – origin was The U. S of the A. German Measles? Oh you mean Rubella. The thing that is German about your ‘German Measles’ is the German physicians that studied Rubella. On ‘Covid’ your “China Virus”, the WHO officially named Covid-19 in February 2020,. The WHO never labelled it ‘China Virus ‘or ‘Wuhan Virus’. The WHO years ago decided it wouldn’t label pandemics by geographical associations.

    • No reasoning with these fools Steve. Seeing people describe this as the plague is laughable. What is it like a 99.x percent survivability. Almost 93 percent in Aushtralia vaxxed and insane lockdowns forever and the cases are exploding. Complete joke and so many weak-minded losers in here. They probably scream in terror at their own shadows. Anyways hope Aushtralians enjoy their locked down joke of a country that will have covid sweep through your country no matter how many stupid lockdowns and vaxxed people you have. Hope tennis grows a spine and moves the major out.

  7. I am fully vaccinated – but have been appalled by the division and antipathy between the vaxxed and unvaxxed. I know some people who are terrified of being vaccinated – others who no longer feel comfortable with me because they are not vaccinated. I feel quite safe covid wise now, but I’m almost regretting having the vaccination, as it doesn’t seem to be working as it should. Also the rabid censoring of professors, epidemiologists and doctors who have concerns about the vaccination makes me wonder why they are not allowed an opinion.

    I hope Djockovich will be allowed to play. He should be able to make a decision about his own body without the heckling of the twitter mob. Why does everyone listen to those bullies?

  8. Did Polio come from Poland? Is this really a serious argument or the nonsensical response from someone who can’t handle the truth. Covid originated in China. Apparently the United States were conducting “gain of function” experiments in the U.S., but a law came out prohibiting these dangerous experiments and they were moved to Wuhan in China. So I guess you could call it the China/US virus.

    • Settle essam, no it wasn’t a serious argument. Sorry, but one could be forgiven for treating some of these exchanges like comedy hour. Like the suggestion that it is an established scientific convention to name viruses after their place of origin.

      I don’t know what truth you think I can’t handle but it seems to me that, regardless of the origin of SARS CoV 2, the reality of it we are dealing with is the same and I’m not that convinced we’ll ever know. But “apparently” is an interesting word choice here. What makes this theory so apparent?

      Btw, apparently few scientists think that it’s likely the pandemic flu of last century originated in Spain.

  9. Liz, if you care to do some research over and above the government brainwash, you may be surprised as to what may be apparent.

    Personally, I now regret being double vaxxed (no booster) because it’s created problems with my family and I no longer believe in it’s efficacy after finding that so many fully vaccinated people are now dead. Others I know have been badly affected by the vaccine.

    So in my mind, Djocovic has made a wise decision – he clearly feels so strongly about it that he’s prepared to forego the world championship. I note that the minister waited until the poll came out showing 85% of people wanted the Jock booted to cancel his visa. All political nonsense.

    • Feeling strongly about something doesn’t automatically mean it’s the right decision, admirable as Novak’s conviction may be. Your family dissing you doesn’t make your decision wrong either – that’s not a reason to regret your choice. Unless your family are immunologists, vaccinologists, virologists or at least medicos, their disapproval doesn’t seem a sound basis for your future decisions on the subject.

      And where do you propose I do this alternative research essam? I actually listen to a wide range of well qualified and experienced epidemiologists, scientists etc, many of who have been critical of government management of the pandemic. Should I confine myself to anti-vax and conspiracy websites, chiropractors, aroma therapists and YouTube?

      If you think carefully about the situation where around 93% of the adult population is vaccinated and those 80+ – the ones most likely to die from Covid – are close to 100% vaccinated, you will expect that some inevitable deaths will be amongst the vaccinated. Inevitable because the vaccines are not 100% effective. No pharmaceutical is.

      Just ponder though that according to the NSW Health Minister at today’s presser, the 6 currently in ICU in Lismore, are not vaccinated.

      Omicron was identified in late November; the medical and scientific community is undoubtedly still learning what impact it has had on the efficacy of the vaccines. Science draws conclusions from the evidence – if the evidence is shifting the conclusions will shift with it. The opposite approach is to determine your preferred position – eg the vaccines are all dangerous, evil bullshit that is just about big pharma making money – then go looking for any skerrick of selective evidence that supports this position.

      I certainly agree with you though that much of the federal government’s antics on the Djokovic saga have been driven by opportunistic politics rather than public health. It’s just been their default position for two years now.

    • To be more precise the Minister said that “one day this week” 6 in ICU were unvaccinated. He was referring to a doctor who had told him of the concerns in the region about the impacts of the relatively low vaccination rates.

  10. Once again the point of a discussion has been screwed. NoVax lied & became a loser.
    His 30 million plus ‘endorsed deals’ may be lost but his gluten free diet & hyperbaric
    chamber will be waiting for him when he gets home. Remember, NoVax got vaxed
    although he first sais he wouldn’t. The lie set him on fire & that’s that.

    • NoVaxNoVisaNoTennis ‘Spartacus’, going back home into his hyperbolic chamber that is modern day Thrace aka Serbia. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic isn’t helping affairs with the spruikings of his ‘Gladiator, NoVax’. What next a gladiator match between Thrace / NoVax and Australia / Scotty/M, Alex H?

  11. Nah… NoVax is still calling the shots because he wasn’t removed on arrival.
    We need a new government – one with ‘guts’.

    • Barrow, each country is free to set its own entry requirements. In Australia, “we decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come”. You do recall that unfortunate Asylum Seekers and Refugees arriving here by boat go into Mandatory Detention despite having committed no crime, yes. Our Covid conditions of entry are not a secret. But NoVaxNoVisaNoTennis DjoCovid still wanted to test our Covid conditions of entry. I take your point about hyprocrisy, there has been plenty on show these last 2 plus years. For 2 years of Covid we have had the 1% – the rich and the famous, sports types, film types, business types, pollies coming and going at will with many publicised instances of them avoiding all the restrictions that the 99% – the rest of us, had to follow to the letter. But “Rules re Rules” says your your man Scomicron and it seems that Vaccination status is the one tree branch, if you like, that will not be breaking…not this time at least with NoVax DjoCovid.

  12. Joachim as compassionate and accepting as Australia is” rules are rules ” law’s are Law’s
    You cannot have lawlessness in any Country Joachim otherwise we would have 50 million here in Aus, or more with open borders
    Refugees risking their own lives and that of there children coming by boats discarding all forms of identity..how the hell do we know who these people are ? Billions of taxpayer’s money spent on lawyers barristers not to mention how much it costs per day to house these refugees . Now most have been offered resettlement in other countries only to refuse the goodwill.. really ? As for Novak
    Well what a complete stuff up from the loopholes that were opened up by Craig Tiley tennis Australia and the board ..not to mention poor or no communication from our government embarrassing..this is not who Australia is .. and Joachim just for the record iam a swinging voter . Vote for who i think would be best for my country .. and yes i voted for the coalition.. now if Jim Chalmers was at the helm of labor they would get my vote . However that wont be the case ..

    • Barrow, if you vote ALP, it a start in getting ALP into government. From little things big things grow and…your Jim Chalmers to the helm.

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