twelve days of arm wrestling with Australia and a huge mess

Australians call this “the powers of God”. These are the discretionary powers of their Minister of Immigration, superior to those of any other member of government. Friday, January 14, Alex Hawke used them to revoke Novak Djokovic’s visa for the second time. Despite his legendary tenacity, the world number one in tennis has not made the weight. He lost his summary hearing in Federal Court on Sunday. The unvaccinated player left the country in stride. The Australian Open will open on Monday without its defending champion and with the feeling of a huge mess.

“Given the interest and media coverage, including in Mr. Djokovic’s home country of Serbia, the tribunal considers it appropriate to clarify a number of issues regarding the process that took place. place, said Sunday evening, the Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Australia, James Allsop. It is not the function of the court to rule on the merits or wisdom of the decision [de M. Hawke]. »

Become an “icon”

The Minister for Immigration, acting in the name of the general interest, had motivated his decision by the fact that the presence of Novak Djokovic on Australian territory “could encourage anti-vaccination sentiment”, become a “icon” antivax and “trigger an upsurge in civil unrest”. During the hearing, the Serb’s lawyers, describing this initiative as“illogical”, “irrational” and “unreasonable”, seemed to score points, especially when they argued that, on the contrary, it was the expulsion of “Djoko” that risked provoking demonstrations and strengthening anti-vax sentiment.

“I really do not understand why you do not allow me to enter the country”, Novak Djokovic

What finally tipped the scales in favor of the government? The three judges in charge of the case have not yet explained why they rejected his appeal. Whatever their reasons, civil rights organizations immediately denounced a dangerous precedent as the omnipotence of a minister who has a rare margin of maneuver in a democratic system. Thus, he did not have to demonstrate how the presence in the country of Novak Djokovic was likely to cause unrest but simply that it ” could be able ” do so, explained the tennis player’s lawyer. In the same line, the “perception of opinions” of the player was considered as important as his opinions.

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