The government’s attorney said Djokovic would not be detained until he met immigration officials on Saturday morning and would not be deported until his case was heard.
Australia will delay efforts to deport Novak Djokovic, the highest-ranking men’s tennis player, until his renewed legal appeal is over.
At an emergency hearing on Friday, government attorney Stephen Lloyd told the judge that Australia would not detain Djokovic prior to an interview with immigration officials on Saturday morning and would not be deported before his case was heard.
Earlier on Friday, the Australian government revoked the tennis player’s visa for the second time, leaving the Serb facing deportation.
She said Djokovic, who is not immune to Covid-19, could pose a danger to society.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke used discretionary powers after a former annulment court overturned and released him from immigration custody on Monday.
“Today I have exercised my power under Section 133c(3) of the Immigration Act to cancel the visa held by Mr. Novak Djokovic on grounds of health and order, on the grounds that it is in the public interest to do so,” Hook said. statement earlier on Friday.
The government is “strongly committed to protecting Australia’s borders, particularly in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic”.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison welcomed the impending deportation of Djokovic, saying Australia had achieved one of the lowest epidemic death rates, the strongest economies and the highest vaccination rates in the world due to its strict policies against the virus.
“Australians have made many sacrifices during this pandemic, and they rightly expect to be protected as a result of those sacrifices,” Morrison said in a statement. “That’s what the minister is doing in taking that action today.”
Djokovic’s exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement for the competition has been approved by the state government of Victoria and Tennis Australia, the tournament’s organiser. Apparently this allowed him to get a visa to travel.
But the Australian Border Force refused the exemption and canceled his visa upon arrival in Melbourne.
He spent four nights in a hotel reservation before a judge overturned that decision on Monday.
Cancellation #DjokovicThe entry visa reveals once again the Kafkaesque nature of the Australian immigration system.
The minister claims it is in the “public interest” when it adequately serves a political purpose.
Meanwhile, 32 refugees and asylum seekers are still being held at the Park Hotel. pic.twitter.com/FPraAsWf99
– Eileen Pearson (@PearsonElaine) January 14, 2022
On Thursday, Djokovic was included in the official draw for the Australian Open despite uncertainty over visa status.
Djokovic also admitted knowing he had tested positive for COVID-19 when he attended a press interview and photoshoot at his tennis center in Serbia last month, acknowledging that he had made an “error of judgment” and should have immediately undergone isolation.
The decision to grant him medical exemption to travel to Melbourne to defend his Australian Open title has sparked outcry on social media and criticism from other sports players, medical professionals and politicians.
Australian Open organizers said Djokovic applied for a medical exemption “which was granted after a rigorous review process that involved two separate groups of medical experts”.
However, after the announcement, former Australian rules player Kevin Bartlett tweeted that Australians “have been considered fools”.
Another former player, Corey McKiernan, tweeted: “People who have loved ones who are dying/some need urgent treatment can’t get into their states. You tell people they can’t go to Coles or a coffee shop without being sabotaged, but if you’re number one in the world Will you get a permit?”
Many Australians, especially those in the tournament’s host city Melbourne, have been subject to a series of prolonged lockdowns over the past two years.