Novak Djokovic’s last-ditch legal attempt to remain in the country was unsuccessful.
After Novak Djokovic visa was cancelled by the government on “health and good order” grounds, the unvaccinated tennis star filed a challenge, but the judges dismissed it. Djokovic expressed his disappointment but accepted the decision. On Sunday, he boarded an aircraft to Dubai.
It brings a conclusion to a 10-day story in which Djokovic struggled to stay in the Australian Open to defend his championship. Outside the courtroom, Djokovic’s fans fell silent as the decision was revealed on the eve of his first match in the championship. Without the 34-year-old competing at the Open, one fan told the BBC that her summer would be “empty.” The decision to maintain our borders strong and keep Australians secure,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
Djokovic filed the lawsuit after Immigration Minister Alex Hawke invoked his ministerial powers to revoke Djokovic’s visa, claiming that his presence in the country could inflame anti-vaccination sentiment. It was his second visa revocation, after a previous cancellation for failing to observe Covid entry procedures was overturned by a different judge.
Djokovic’s defense unsuccessfully claimed that the government’s arguments were “invalid and unreasonable” during a court hearing on Sunday before a three-judge panel. The federal court’s decision, according to Chief Justice James Allsop, was based on the minister’s decision’s legality, not on whether it was the proper decision to make. Full reasoning for the ruling will be made public in the coming days, he said.
The player’s attempt to enter Australia without getting vaccinated against Covid-19 has sparked widespread outrage in Australia. The federal government has frequently stated that no one is “above the law” and that everyone must follow the strict rules in place to cope with the outbreak.
After testing positive for coronavirus in mid-December, Novak Djokovic was granted a medical exemption to visit Australia by two separate independent health panels – one commissioned by Tennis Australia, the other by the state government of Victoria.
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