Novak Djokovic failed to convince the three Australian Federal Court judges: he will be expelled. His main motivation
He would become an “icon” for no-vaxes, and his stance against vaccines would damage the country’s public health.
The highly regarded lawyers who defended him, led by Nicholas Wood, argued that any no-vax sentiment introduced into the community (in Australia they have a strained relationship with outsiders, from weeds to immigrants) since the champion landed in Australia is instead the result of the government’s decision to cancel his seen. The 34-year-old is not vaccinated, it is true, but his lawyer reiterated that he did not seek the support of the no-vax nor was he associated with the movement, nor is there evidence that his presence has fomented him.
State attorney Stephen Lloydhe replied: the fact that Djokovic is not vaccinated two years after the pandemic began and has repeatedly ignored safety measures – including the lack of isolation while he was positive last December – is sufficient proof of his views.
“He has chosen not to be heard as a witness in this proceeding. He could have set the record straight. He did not, and this has consequences, ”the government’s written deposition reads. Which also underlined a series of protests that were unleashed by Djokovic’s arrival in Australia. “The Commonwealth should not be forced to experience the presence of a foreigner for fear of what might happen if he were removed.”
The decision made by the panel of three judges will be very difficult for both parties to challenge. Djokovic now faces immediate expulsion and a three-year ban from Australia. The alternative would be an appeal to the High Court, but that would take too long: in the meantime he would have to leave the country and could not play the current tournament, having won nine in the past years.
It all starts with immigration minister Alex Hawke ‘s decision to use his broad powers to cancel Djokovic’s visa last Friday, after the tennis player won in court earlier this week.
“Famous athletes are continually used to promote ideas and causes. His connection to a cause, whether he likes it or not, is still there, ”Lloyd said. The risk of emulation by Australians, according to the government, was too high. And if he had won the tournament, the galvanizing effect of the no-vax movements would have been disruptive.
For sure, nearly 100,000 people have tuned in to the stream from the Federal Court to follow the hearing, in addition to the billions of people around the world who have followed this case since it started.
Djokovic’s lawyers retorted that the minister’s decision is based on comments the tennis player made in 2020 and that there has been no attempt by the government to understand his current views on Covid vaccinations. Not only that: “the government has not presented any evidence that Djokovic’s presence will galvanize the no-vax community, indeed his expulsion will only help it.”
The minister, to justify the “social danger”, argued that the presence of the Serbian champion would have triggered street demonstrations (whether against or in favor) or potential moments of transmission of the virus. According to state lawyers, these reasons are sufficient for an immigration minister who, it must be said, has wide and discretionary powers to decide who enters and who is rejected in the country.
Now, for an appeal, Djokovic’s lawyers would have to prove that the decision is irrational, illogical or illegal. It is no longer enough to argue that the “best” decision would be to allow him to stay.
According to Australian law, the minister has the right to cancel the visa if he is convinced that there is a risk even for a part of the population, linked to Djokovic’s presence in Australia. He doesn’t need to ascertain his probable or possible conduct.

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