It’s official: Australia’s Immigration Minister Alex Hawke exercised a personal power to cancel Djokovic’s visa after Judge Kelly allowed the world tennis champion to stay and compete at Australian Open.
“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,” Hawke said in a statement.
“In making this decision, I carefully considered information provided to me by the Department of Home Affairs, the Australian Border Force and Mr Djokovic. The Morrison Government is firmly committed to protecting Australia’s borders, particularly in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic.”
- Djokovic’s supporters are gathering in front of the detention hotel where the tennis world champion Novak Djokovic is expected to be moved to tonight.
- Australian PM Scott Morrison has acknowledged Hawke’s decision. “I note the Minister for Immigration’s decision in relation to Mr Novak Djokovic’s visa,” he said.
- Novak Djokovic has been been asked to present himself for an interview with immigration officials tomorrow morning.
- Novak Djokovic’s lawyers are excepted to react in due course as they want a quick trial with oral statements.
Australian political journalist Paul Bongiorno signaled on Wednesday that the Australian government had already made a decision to deport the world tennis champion, but Hawke did not make any announcements until Friday.
“I am hearing @AlexHawkeMP will boot out the Joker tomorrow,” Bongiorno said on Twitter.
Today, Djokovic was informed of the decision.
On Wednesday morning, Novak Djokovic stated to clarify “misinformation” around his COVID test and travel declaration.
Regarding the travel declaration form, he said that his agent made a mistake while filling out the form. “My agent sincerely apologizes for the administrative mistake in ticking the incorrect box about my previous travel before coming to Australia. This was a human error and certainly not deliberate.”
Regarding the questions raised about his public appearances after he tested positive for COVID on December 16, Novak Djokovic said that on December 18, he interviewed with Franck Ramella of L’Equipe despite knowing that he was infected with COVID. Ramella, however, did not get COVID from Djokovic. He said that he tested negative before traveling to Australia.
Djokovic’s self-declared “error in judgment” did not make a difference for the Australian government, which was determined to deport him from day one. At the airport, while Djokovic was detained, his Australian government violated his rights to legal representation.
*This is a developing story. We will provide further updates as we learn more.