Australia canceled Novak Djokovic’s visa for a second time on Friday, just days before the start of the Australian Open on Monday.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke used his personal powers to cancel Novak Djokovic’s visa, as the tennis player’s lawyers prepare to file an immediate injunction against the decision.
“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 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,” he added.
Djokovic faces deportation from Australia
The move has thrown the tennis world no.1’s quest for a 10th Australian Open into turmoil. If he doesn’t challenge the decision in the courts or is unsuccessful in doing so, he will be immediately deported from the country.
If Djokovic doesn’t successfully appeal the decision, the laws dictate that he would be banned from being granted another visa for three years – however, this can be waived on “compassionate grounds” if he applies for another visa.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Hawke had made the decision to cancel Djokovic’s visa on the basis that it was in the public interest.
“Australians have made many sacrifices during this pandemic, and they rightly expect the result of those sacrifices to be protected. This is what the minister is doing in taking this action today,” Morrison said.
“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 be not be providing any further comment.”
Djokovic, who is unvaccinated against Covid-19, had his visa revoked on January 6, after arriving in Australia, amid questions over the vaccine exemption that would have permitted him to enter.
On Monday, however, a judge dramatically overturned the decision and ordered the release of the player from detention.