Novak Djokovic: Nigel Farage praises court ruling
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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, 53, has been put under increasing pressure to deal with the controversy surrounding Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic, 34, after the decision to cancel the 20-time Grand Slam champion’s visa was quashed in the Federal Court on Monday. Mr Djokovic, who is now eligible to compete in the Australian Open in Melbourne, was controversially kept in an immigration detention hotel despite claiming he was exempt from vaccination travel-rules.
However, Canberra’s Immigration Minister Alex Hawke, 44, confirmed he was still considering revoking Djokovic’s visa through other means.
Despite the legal ruling on Monday, Section 133c(3) of the Migration Act gives Mr Hawke the power to cancel the Serb’s visa.
But Australian Labor leader Anthony Albanese, 58, lambasted the Prime Minister on Tuesday.
He said: “The fact is that this has been botched completely by the Australian Government.”
Mr Albanese added: “It’s been botched because the Australian Government is led by someone who always waits for a problem to become a crisis before they act.”
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Labor Senator Kristina Keneally, 53, piled the pressure on Mr Morrison by calling on his Government to act quickly.
“Scott Morrison tried to blame the Victorian Government, he tried to blame Tennis Australia,” she said.
“But understand this, only the Federal Government can issue a visa.
“They should have been clear about what his vaccination status was, and whether or not he was safe to enter the country.
“They got themselves into this mess, they’re going to have to get themselves out.
“Right now – what does it say if he gets deported? And what does it say if he gets to stay? It does incredible damage to our tough border rules.”
She added: “Australia looks like a bit of a joke on the world stage right now … It would be a joke except the consequences are so serious.”
Even a Liberal MP appeared to criticise his Prime Minister.
Ex-Davis Cup winner and retiring MP John Alexander, 70, said: “The judge has been abundantly clear in his findings and his comments around the finding, saying essentially what more could this man have done to meet the criteria that had been set down.”
He added: “It was a pretty emphatic decision.
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“The Minister does have the right to overrule that, but it would appear that Djokovic is not a threat to Australian society.”
Officials inside Government now concede they misread the situation regarding Djokovic.
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, 54, told reporters: “I got it wrong, I thought he’d be game, set, match that he hadn’t been double-vaxxed and he would have been asked to go.
“But I got it wrong.
“So, I’m not going to pretend to be a solicitor again.”
Mr Joyce instead worked with a chartered accountancy firm and even set up his own business before entering politics.
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