Tennis

Djokovic visa hearing scheduled as Hawke warns Serb’s presence could spark ‘civil unrest’


The Serbian tennis star’s lawyers continue to argue that his visa has not been cancelled over the health risk he posed but rather because of how he may be perceived by anti-vaxxers in the country. According to Immigration Minister, Alex Hawke, Djokovic’s presence in Australia could lead to “civil unrest”.

He said: “I consider that Mr Djokovic’s ongoing presence in Australia may lead to an increase in anti-vaccination sentiment generated in the Australian community, potentially leading to an increase in civil unrest of the kind previously experienced in Australia with rallies and protests which may themselves be a source of community transmission.”

The tennis star first had his visa revoked last week, however, he was allowed to remain in the country after he won a court appeal. 

Canberra said it would continue to look at whether he could stay in the country at the discretion of Mr Hawke. 

On Friday, the immigration minister announced the Serbian tennis star’s visa had been cancelled again on public health grounds.

At a court hearing today, Djokovic’s lawyers blasted the minister’s decision, saying it took an “illogical/irrational/unreasonable approach to … the question of public interest”.

They added: “The Minister cited no evidence that supported his finding that Mr Djokovic’s presence in Australia may ‘foster anti-vaccination sentiment’, and it was not open to the Minister to make that finding.”

At time of writing, Djokovic does not have a visa to stay in Australia and by law must be detained. 

The Serb will be allowed to remain in his lawyers’ offices between 10am-2pm under supervision of border force officers, but must return to detention afterwards. 

READ MORE: Becker critical of Djokovic’s father for going too far in outburst

“And we still don’t have an explanation for how it is that the Australian government under Scott Morrison issued the visa in the first place.

“The right decision was to stop the visa being issued in the first place and the rules are very clear.

“What’s [happened] here is a debacle which has been dragged out for day after day after day.”





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