Australia’s immigration minister must now make a political decision on whether to use his powers to overturn the judge’s ruling.
When Australian immigration officials rejected tennis star Novak Djokovic’s medical waiver of a COVID-19 vaccination requirement and cancelled his visa, they sparked a storm of bureaucratic, political and legal consequences.
The world’s top male tennis player spent four days with asylum seekers and refugees at an immigration detention hotel in Melbourne before Federal Circuit Judge Anthony Kelly support his appeal and ordered his release and his visa reinstated.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke must now make a political decision on whether to use his powers to overturn the judge’s ruling.
But what has happened in recent days, and what might happen before the tennis tournament?
Where to go now?
First, a better class of accommodation. When the judge ruled in his favor on Monday, Djokovic was immediately released from the Park Hotel in Melbourne to join his team for the rest of Australia in an upscale apartment.
Djokovic swiftly headed to Australian Open venue Melbourne Park for a late night Training CoursesHe also trained on Tuesday, showing his goal remains firmly committed to his 21st Grand Slam singles title.
Hawk is Decide On Djokovic’s fate on Wednesday.
Another issue to review is whether Djokovic may have filled out his travel registration form incorrectly when he ticked the box of no travel for the 14 days prior to his arrival in Australia on January 6. In fact, Djokovic did travel to Spain to train during that period.
What did the court say?
Perhaps the key and hardest question to answer in this whole affair is whether Djokovic has a valid claim for medical treatment exempt Entering Australia without being vaccinated.
Tennis Australia, the Victorian government and the federal government are divided.
Djokovic had been vague about his vaccination status before heading to Australia. In an interview with border officials at Melbourne Airport on Thursday morning, he admitted he was not.
His application for a medical exemption to the requirement that all non-Australian arrivals must be vaccinated was based on his claim that he tested positive for COVID-19 on December 16.
On that basis, a medical panel set up by Tennis Australia and the Victorian state government granted Djokovic immunity from vaccinations to play at the Australian Open. Djokovic’s lawyers have argued that he has every reason to believe the same standards apply at the border.
What is the situation?
Djokovic was quick to welcome the court’s ruling. During his four days in immigration detention, he tweeted just once, thanking fans for their support.
On Tuesday morning, he tweeted again to thank the court for supporting his case.
Questions remain about Djokovic’s recent positive test. He took a PCR test on December 16 and received a positive result that night, but he reportedly spent the next few days in public appearances.
the role of politics
Djokovic faces a record daily number of COVID-19 cases when he arrives in Melbourne. The number is also increasing across Australia due to the Omicron variant.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government has faced criticism for easing some virus restrictions and for not offering rapid antigen tests as Omicron cases began to surge.
Morrison said little when Tennis Australia and the Victorian government backed Djokovic’s request for a medical waiver. But when Djokovic’s visa was cancelled, he was quick to make a decision and felt the public’s approval.
He tweeted:rules are rules” and repeated it in interviews over the following days. At first, it seemed like some kind of political victory.
Australia’s strict border controls have prevented Australians living overseas from returning home during the pandemic, keeping families apart.
The possibility that one of the world’s most respected athletes and prominent vaccine skeptics could receive special treatment at the border is something Morrison cannot accept.