Written by Asma Hussain
10 Jan, 2022 | 2:21 pm
The decision to cancel Novak Djokovic’s visa has been quashed by the Federal Circuit Court, and he will be freed from immigration detention.
On Monday (10) afternoon, Judge Anthony Kelly read out a minute agreed to by both Djokovic and the government, which ordered the government to pay Djokovic’s costs and release him from detention within 30 minutes.
Djokovic’s passport and personal effects must be returned to him.
The government acknowledged it had not given Djokovic enough time to make his case while he was being held after arriving in the country.
The decision to revoke his visa under Section 116 of the Migration Act was “unreasonable”, because Djokovic had been told, at 5:20am on the morning of January 6, that he could have until 8:30am to respond to officials.
The call to cancel the visa happened before that deadline, at 7.42am, robbing Djokovic of time he could have used to “consult others” and make further submissions on his own behalf.
The world’s top male tennis player — who is unvaccinated — thought he’d successfully received a medical exemption to enter the country but he was detained by the Australian Border Force after touching down in Melbourne last week.
In a submission to the court, Djokovic’s lawyers said he contracted Covid-19 in December, which was the basis for his exemption application. But there has been confusion over whether being infected with the virus in the past six months was a valid reason to receive an exemption from being vaccinated.
After Judge Anthony Kelly read out the minute agreed to by both sides, which will set Djokovic free from detention, government lawyer Christopher Tran indicated the federal Minister for Immigration and Migrant Services, Alex Hawke, would consider whether to use his “personal power of cancellation” to cancel Djokovic’s visa again.
If the Immigration Minister decides to use his personal power to revoke Djokovic’s visa again, the world number one will once again find himself prevented from competing.
On top of that, he could be banned from entering the country for three years.
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