by John Paye and Rod McGuirk The Associated Press
MELBOURNE, Australia – Tennis star Novak Djokovic has faced deportation again after the Australian government revoked his visa for the second time.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said on Friday (Thursday night PT) that he used his ministerial discretion to revoke the 34-year-old Serb’s visa on public interest grounds three days before the start of the Australian Open.
Djokovic’s lawyers are expected to appeal the cancellation in the Federal Circuit and Family Court, as they did successfully after the first cancellation.
Hawke said he revoked the visa “on the grounds of health and good order, on the grounds that it was in the public interest to do so.”
“The Morrison Government is strongly committed to protecting Australia’s borders, particularly in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hawke said in a statement, referring to Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
This is the second time that Djokovic’s visa has been revoked since arriving in Melbourne last week to defend his Australian Open title.
Their exemption from a COVID-19 vaccination requirement to compete was approved by the Victoria State Government and Tennis Australia, the tournament organiser. This apparently allowed him to obtain a visa to travel.
But the Australian Border Force rejected the exemption and canceled his visa on arrival in Melbourne. Djokovic spent four nights at an immigration detention hotel before that decision was overturned on Monday.
Melbourne-based immigration lawyer Kian Bone said Djokovic’s lawyers faced an “extremely difficult” task of getting a court order over the weekend to allow his client to play next week.
“It will be very difficult for Djokovic to play over the weekend to get the results he needs,” Bon said.
Bone said Hawke’s delay in deciding on punitive limits.
“If you leave it to the latter, I think from a strategic standpoint he (Hawk) is really hamstringing Djokovic’s legal team, in terms of what kind of options or remedies he can get ,” Bone said hours before the decision. declare.
Lawyers would need to go to a duty judge of the Federal Circuit and Family Court or a higher judge of the Federal Court to obtain two urgent orders.
An order would be an injunction preventing his deportation, as he obtained last week. The second will order Hawke to give Djokovic a visa to play.
“That second order is almost never precedent,” Bone said. “Very rarely do courts order a visa to be granted to a member of the executive government.”