Mon. May 23rd, 2022

The Federal Court has revealed the reasons why it rejected tennis star Novak Djokovic’s challenge to the federal government’s decision to cancel his visa.

In a unanimous decision, Chief Justice James Allsop, Judge Anthony Besanko and Judge David O’Callaghan said Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s decision to cancel Djokovic’s visa was not irrational or illogical.

The three judges found that it was not irrational for Mr Hawke to be concerned that the support of anti-vaccination groups for Djokovic might encourage protests and further societal transfer.

The judges said they did not consider the benefits or wisdom of the minister’s decision, only whether it was legal or not.

The world number one men’s tennis player was deported from Australia late on Sunday after he failed in an attempt to have his visa revoked.

The full court of the Federal Court unanimously decided to reject Djokovic’s application on Sunday before he was due to play in the Australian Open on Monday.

Novak Djokovic is seen sitting in the back seat of a car wearing streetwear and a face mask
Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic (center) leaves the Park Hotel government detention facility.(AAP: James Ross)

Djokovic could inspire ‘anti-vaccination mood’, the court says

The reasons posted online Thursday afternoon draw attention to the tennis star’s influence in the public space.

“This is not imaginative; it does not need evidence. It is the recognition of human behavior from a modest knowledge of human experience.

“Even if Mr Djokovic did not win the Australian Open, the ability of his presence in Australia to play tennis to encourage those who would imitate or want to be like him is a rational basis for the view that he could promote anti- vaccination mood. “

The court outlined the central argument of Djokovic’s legal team.

“The central allegation in Mr Djokovic’s argument was that the minister lacked evidence and did not quote anything that his presence could ‘promote anti-vaccination sentiment’,” the court said in its published justification.

“But it was open to infer that it was perceived by the public that Mr Djokovic was not in favor of vaccinations.

“It was known or at least perceived by the public that he had chosen not to be vaccinated.

The court also said that the minister was not obliged to give a justification in the case, but he did.

“They were obviously carefully crafted,” the court said.

“There was a clear connection between all parts of the minister’s justification.


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