Australian court upholds Novak Djokovic’s visa cancellation due to COVID-19 risk – National
An Australian court said on Thursday it had dismissed tennis superstar Novak Djokovic’s challenge to revoke his visa because the minister who revoked him reasonably believed Djokovic, who is not vaccinated against COVID. -19, could pose a risk to the community.
The Federal Court also rejected the argument that there was no evidence that Djokovic had ever urged anyone not to get vaccinated, saying it was possible to infer that the public would perceive he was opposed to vaccinations. , since he said he had not been vaccinated.
“An iconic world tennis star can influence people of all ages, young or old, but perhaps especially the young and impressionable, to emulate him. It’s not fanciful; he doesn’t need proof “, said the judges.
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Djokovic’s saga has fueled the global debate over the rights of people who choose not to get vaccinated as governments seek to protect the community from the coronavirus pandemic.
Djokovic was kicked out of Australia on Sunday night, just hours after the court rejected his efforts to stay in the country to play at the Australian Open, where he was hoping to win a record 21st major title.
This followed an 11-day rollercoaster ride involving two visa cancellations, two legal challenges and five nights in two stays at a migrant detention hotel where asylum seekers are being held.
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His lawyers had argued that the annulment should be overturned on the grounds that Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s decision was irrational, lacked evidence that Djokovic’s presence in Australia could stoke anti-vaccination sentiment and had no not considered that Djokovic’s expulsion could inflame anti-vax sentiment. .
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The Federal Court said while another minister might have decided not to cancel the visa, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke followed the correct steps under the law that allows him to cancel a visa. visa as long as it is satisfied that the visa holder “may be a risk to the health or good order of the Australian community”.
“The Minister has reached this state of satisfaction for reasons which cannot be said to be irrational or illogical or not based on relevant evidence,” said Chief Justice James Allsop and Justices Anthony Besanko and David O’ Callaghan in their reasons delivered Thursday.
The court dismissed the case last Sunday after an emergency hearing over the weekend, saying it would release the reasons later as it wanted to ensure Djokovic had the decision before the Open began. Australia the next day.
The Serb is now at risk of missing tennis’ next Grand Slam event – the French Open – as the country’s sports ministry says there will be no exemption to a new pass law for vaccines approved on Sunday.
(Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Michael Perry)