Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said in a statement Friday he would use his personal power to revoke Novak Djokovic's visa for a second time.
It is unclear whether Australia will move to deport the Serbian star as the decision can still be challenged by his legal team.
„Today, I exercised my power under section 133C(3) of the Migration Act to cancel the visa held by Mr Novak Djokovic on health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so.“
— Saša Ozmo (@ozmo_sasa) January 14, 2022
This decision followed orders by the Federal Circuit and Family Court on 10 January 2022, quashing a prior cancellation decision on procedural fairness grounds.
Following the news, Janina Boughey, a Senior Lecturer in the UNSW Faculty of Law, said Djokovic could appeal and ask a court to look into the grounds of the Minister’s decision.
“If there are no legal errors or the decision is groundless, Djokovic’s chances for a successful appeal are slim,” she said.
‘Sidney Morning Herald’ and ‘The Age’ Foreign Affairs reporter Anthony Galloway said the Minister did not have to hurry with the decision and that Djokovic’s legal team could appeal, saying the Minister did not take into account the information he had appropriately.”
If there were an appeal, judge Antony Kelly who previously quashed the Border Authorities decision to revoke Djokovic’s visa after he came to Melbourne, would lead the process again.
Djokovic’s legal team hope the court ruling will be known by Sunday to enable the world number one tennis player to defend his Australian Open title at the first Grand Slam in 2022 that starts on Monday.
He is the ninth time champion at Melbourne and holds 20 GS titles, as do his main competitors Rafael Nadal, who is playing at this year’s tournament and Roger Federer, who is not.
On Thursday afternoon, media reported that Djokovic cut short his practising after a team member showed him an SMS. He booked two hours for training but packed up and left after half an hour.
„In making this decision, I carefully considered information provided to me by the Department of Home Affairs, the Australian Border Force and Mr Djokovic.“
The Morrison Government is firmly committed to protecting Australia’s borders, particularly in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.
„I thank the officers of the Department of Home Affairs and the Australian Border Force who work every day to serve Australia’s interests in increasingly challenging operational environments.“
The immigration minister has broad powers to cancel visas — and if the visa is successfully revoked, barring an appeal, Djokovic could be banned from Australia for up to three years.“
Hawke went on to reiterate the Australian government’s firm commitment to protecting borders, „particularly in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.“ Section 133C(3) of the Migration Act grants the Immigration Minister personal powers under which they can cancel visas.
The grounds under which a visa may be cancelled are laid out in section 116 of the Migration Act. Section 116(1)(e) of the act states that visa cancellation can occur if „the Minister is satisfied that it would be in the public interest to cancel the visa.“