Australia Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has used his ministerial powers to personally cancel Novak Djokovic’s visa, after the world number one men’s tennis player won a court case earlier this week against the cancellation of his entry visa.
Mr Hawke said he had cancelled the visa this time on “health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so”.
“In making this decision I carefully considered information provided to me by the Department of Home Affairs, the Australian Border Force and Mr Djokovic,” he said.
“The Morrison Government is firmly committed to protecting Australia’s borders, particularly in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Mr Djokovic had applied for a medical exemption to enter Australia because he is unvaccinated, but had argued he should be granted the exemption because he had tested positive for COVID-19 in mid-December.
But when he arrived in Melbourne on January 6, the 34-year-old was detained by Australian Border Force officials and hours later had his visa cancelled on the grounds that he did not meet the entry requirements.
The tennis star’s legal team is expected to appeal against the minister’s decision in a bid to allow him to stay and play in the Australian Open.
Mr Hawke had been considering whether to personally intervene since Monday, when Mr Djokovic won a reprieve in a court case that reversed the earlier decision to cancel his entry visa.
If Mr Djokovic does not appeal the minister’s decision he will be deported and may be barred from being granted any future visa for the next three years.
It is unclear yet if he has been taken back into immigration detention in Melbourne.