Australia delays deportation of Djokovic after visa cancellation

The government lawyer said Djokovic will not be detained until the interview with immigration officials on Saturday morning and that he will not be deported until his case is heard.

Australia will delay efforts to evict top men’s tennis player Novak Djokovic until his new legal challenge is completed.

At an emergency hearing on Friday, government lawyer Stephen Lloyd told a judge that Australia would not detain Djokovic until an interview with immigration officials on Saturday morning and that he would not be deported before his case is heard.

Earlier on Friday, the Australian government dismissed the tennis player visa for the second time which left the Serb facing deportation.

He said Djokovic, unvaccinated against COVID-19, could pose a risk to the community.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke used discretionary powers after a the court overturned a previous dismissal and released him from immigration detention on Monday.

“Today I exercised my authority under Section 133C(3) of the Migration Act to cancel the visa held by Mr. Novak Djokovic for reasons of health and good order, on the grounds that ‘it was in the public interest to do so,’ Hawke said in a statement earlier Friday.

The government “is strongly committed to protecting Australia’s borders, particularly in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic”.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison hailed Djokovic’s impending deportation, saying Australia had one of the lowest pandemic death rates, strongest economies and highest vaccination rates in the world due of its strict policies against the virus.

“Australians have made many sacrifices during this pandemic and they rightly expect the outcome of those sacrifices to be protected,” Morrison said in a statement. “That is what the minister is doing by taking this action today.”

Djokovic’s exemption from a COVID-19 vaccination requirement to compete has been approved by the Victorian state government and Tennis Australia, the tournament organiser. This apparently allowed him to receive a visa to travel.

But the Australian Border Force rejected the exemption and canceled his visa upon arrival in Melbourne.

He spent four nights in hotel detention before a judge overturned the decision on Monday.

On Thursday, Djokovic was included in the Official Australian Open Draw despite uncertainty over his visa status.

Djokovic too admitted knowing he had tested positive for COVID-19 when he attended a newspaper interview and photoshoot at his tennis center in Serbia last month, admitting he had made an “error in judgement” and that should have isolated himself immediately.

The decision to grant him a medical exemption to travel to Melbourne to defend his Australian Open title has prompted an uproar on social media and criticism from other sportspeople, medical professionals and politicians.

Australian Open organizers said Djokovic had applied for a medical exemption “which was granted following a rigorous review process involving two independent groups of medical experts”.

However, following the announcement, former Aussie Rules player Kevin Bartlett tweeted that Aussies “have been taken for fools”.

Another former player, Corey McKernan, tweeted: “People whose loved ones are dying/some need urgent treatment cannot enter their own state. You tell people they can’t go to Coles or a coffee shop without getting vaxxed, but if you’re world number one you get a pass? »

Many Australians, and particularly those in Melbourne which hosts the tournament, have been subjected to a series of lengthy closures over the past two years.

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