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Australian judge confirms tennis star Djokovic’s visa – NBC Chicago

Tennis star Novak Djokovic won a court battle on Monday to stay in Australia to attend the Australian Open despite not having been vaccinated against CIOVID-19 but the government threatened to cancel his visa a second time.

Federal Court Justice Anthony Kelly reintroduced Djokovic’s visa, which was canceled after his arrival last week after officials ruled that he did not meet the criteria for an exemption from entry for all non-nationals who must be fully vaccinated .

The judge also ordered Djokovic’s release within 30 minutes from a quarantine hotel in Melbourne where he had stayed for the past four nights.

Government attorney Christopher Tran told the judge after the ruling that the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, Alex Hawke, “will consider exercising a personal power of attorney.”

That would mean that Djokovic is threatened with deportation again and could miss the Australian Open, which starts on January 17th.

Kelly said the threat of another visa cancellation meant “the stakes have now increased rather than decreased”.

“If this man is to be deposed without notice if he personally exercises his right of withdrawal, he cannot return to this country for three years, am I right?” Kelly asked lawyers for Interior Minister Karen Andrews, under whose supervision Djokovic had previously had his visa canceled.

Tran and colleague Naomi Wootten confirmed that Djokovic will be banned from Australia for three years.

The government canceled the visa of 34-year-old Djokovic shortly after arriving in Melbourne late Wednesday to play at the Australian Open.

There was a public backlash to news that Djokovic, who previously refused to reveal his vaccination status, would compete in Melbourne because Australians who are not vaccinated or are vaccinated with vaccines that are not recognized by Australian medical authorities, face tough travel and quarantine restrictions. According to court records, he is not vaccinated.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Conservative government is seeking re-election for a fourth three-year term in May elections.

While his government was widely lauded at the start of the pandemic for curbing the country’s COVID-19 death toll, cases of omicrones have risen rapidly. He has been criticized for the lack of rapid antigen tests and for refusing to make the tests available to everyone free of charge.

He has tried to blame Tennis Australia, which organizes the Australian Open, for the controversy.

Djokovic has been under guard in hotel quarantine since Thursday when his visa was canceled.

He appealed the cancellation at Monday’s virtual court hearing amid growing public debate over the positive coronavirus test his attorneys used as a reason for requesting a medical exemption from Australia’s strict vaccination regulations.

Djokovic argued he didn’t need proof of vaccination because he had evidence that he contracted the coronavirus last month.

The Australian Medical Authorities have decided that people who become infected with COVID-19 within six months can be granted a temporary waiver from the vaccination rule.

Judge Kelly noted that Djokovic had issued a medical exemption to officers at Melbourne Airport, which was granted to him by Tennis Australia and two medical panels.

“The point I’m a little excited about is what more could this man have done?” Kelly asked Djokovic’s attorney, Nick Wood.

Wood agreed with the judge that Djokovic couldn’t have done more.

Copies of Djokovic’s interview with border guards and his own affidavit revealed a “repeated appeal to the officers he dealt with that he understood, uncontested, that he had done absolutely whatever he believed was necessary to enter Australia. Said wood.

Djokovic’s lawyers filed eleven appeals against the revocation of his visa. The lawyers described the rejection as “seriously illogical”, irrational and legally unreasonable.

Andrews lawyers said in their motion that vaccination requirements for arriving travelers who have had COVID-19 infection can only be postponed if their illness is acute.

“There is no evidence that the applicant (Djokovic) had an ‘acute serious medical illness’ in December,” when he tested positive, the written statement said.

The virtual hearing broke off several times because an overwhelming number of people from around the world tried to watch the trial.

At one point, an expired court link appeared to have been hacked and pornography was broadcast, The New Daily News reported.

Djokovic is a nine-time Australian Open champion. He is the defending champion and has won the last three titles at Melbourne Park.

Djokovic has 20 individual Grand Slam titles, a men’s record that he shares with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.


McGuirk reported from Canberra. Associated press journalists John Pye and Dennis Passa in Brisbane and Tom Moldoveanu in Melbourne contributed to this report.

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