D-Day for Novak Djokovic as immigration minister set to rule on his visa

Australian Open, featured, Novak Djokovic, Tennis

There is speculation that immigration minister Alex Hawke is on the verge of booting tennis player Novak Djokovic out of the country after he admitted to making a false declaration on his visa form.

A judge initially overturned a decision to cancel Djokovic’s visa and at the time said ‘What more could he have done?’ (to enter the country) – but since then there have been more twists and turns than a John Grisham novel.

Djokovic’s visa form claimed he hadn’t traveled anywhere before arriving in Australia in the previous 14 days which was found to be blatantly untrue after he was spotted in Spain.

Djokovic also admitted yesterday that he knew he was COVID-positive when he attended an interview and a photoshoot that broke Serbia’s isolation rules. The admission came after questions about the validity of Djkokovic’s tests results after an investigation from a German newspaper.

The case has sparked worldwide attention and everyone it seems has an opinion.

Federal opposition leader Anthony Albanese was asked about it this morning.

“How is it that a … visa was granted in the first place?”, he said on the Today show.

“This has been diabolical for Australia’s reputation, just in terms of our competence here and it is extraordinary that – as we are speaking – we still don’t know what the decision will be.”

“The decision should have been made before he was granted a visa. Either he was eligible or he wasn’t.”

“Australia has a policy of not allowing unvaccinated people into Australia. It is beyond my comprehension how we have got to this point.”

If Djokovic does have his visa cancelled again the big question is what happens next?

That could lead us down another long and winding road.

Meanwhile, AAP is reporting that Australia’s Serbian community turned out in force to show their support for the tennis ace in his visa row, opinions are still divided in his Serbian homeland over his aversion to getting vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The athlete, who has embraced a new-age lifestyle, has never been vaccinated for COVID-19 although he has not advocated resistance to inoculation – a hot topic in Serbia for over a year.

People waiting for their jab at a hall in Belgrade disagreed on whether the country’s most famous sportsman should have his jab.

“He should be vaccinated because it is good for every person, and for him,” Robi Basic said.

Marina Djodic defended Djokovic’s stance.

“It is a matter of choice. Everyone makes own choices,” she said.

COVID-19 has so far killed 12,984 people in the Balkan country, which has a population of about seven million. More than 1,386,000 cases have been recorded. Snezana Kalabic, a doctor overseeing vaccinations at the hall, said the numbers of those getting their shots had dwindled since last January.

“At the beginning, we would vaccinate five, six thousand people. In past weeks, the numbers fell drastically to 400 and now to 300 doses per day,” Kalabic said.

Although they introduced restrictive measures in 2020, Serbian authorities have maintained relatively loose policies.

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said she preferred education to penalties in combating the pandemic.

“I would always prefer talking to people, educating people, informing and appealing, than introducing penalty policies,” she told Reuters.

Bojan Klacar, executive director of the Belgrade-based CESID pollster, said those who are against the vaccination remain entrenched despite appeals by public figures and authorities.

With AAP

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