Posted by on January 14, 2022 9:09 am
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Novak Djokovic’s Australian visa canceled for a second time

Defending men’s champion Serbia’s Novak Djokovic practices on Margaret Court Arena ahead of the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022. AP Photo/Mark Baker) Mark Baker/AP

Novak Djokovic’s Australian visa canceled for a second time

Christopher Hutton January 14, 08:17 AMJanuary 14, 08:17 AM

Tennis player Novak Djokovic’s visa was canceled for a second time days before he was scheduled to appear at the Australian Open.

Alex Hawke, Australia’s immigration minister, announced on Friday that he had canceled Djokovic’s visa for a second time, which could bar the tennis player from entering Australia for the next three years if unappealed.

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The decision to cancel Djokovic’s visa was made “on health and good order grounds, [and] on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so,” Hawke claimed in a statement he released on Friday.

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But Djokovic’s lawyers countered that Hawke’s decision was motivated by concerns about how Djokovic could “excite anti-vax sentiment.”

Judge Anthony Kelly, who has overseen Djokovic’s case, said in a statement on Friday that he has transferred the case to Federal Court. Kelly ordered Djokovic to attend a meeting with officials on Saturday, where he will be allowed to appeal his case or leave the country. Hawke will not be allowed to take any action to force Djokovic to leave the country, Kelly stated.

Australian leaders expressed approval for Hawke’s decision.

“I understand that following careful consideration, action has been taken by the Minister to cancel Mr. Djokovic’s visa held on health and good order grounds on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Reuters. “This pandemic has been incredibly difficult for every Australian but we have stuck together and saved lives and livelihoods.”

Kelly previously ruled on Monday that Djokovic was allowed to remain in Australia due to border control not giving him enough time to respond to the visa denial. However, Hawke threatened to use his “personal power of cancellation” to deter Djokovic’s entrance into the country.

Djokovic admitted on Wednesday to making an error on his travel documents, stating that he had falsely claimed that he had not traveled internationally for 14 days before arriving in Australia despite video footage apparently showing him in Spain during those 14 days. The player also admitted to attending events while COVID-positive.

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Although the Australian Open has a vaccine mandate, the tournament waived that requirement for Djokovic, who contracted the virus. The tennis player’s lawyer argued that Djokovic did not need the vaccine due to him previously testing positive for COVID-19.

After meeting with officials, Djokovic, a nine-time winner of the Australian Open, will be placed in detention at his solicitor’s office starting Saturday.

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Originally appeared at Washington Examiner

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