How the Novak Djokovic saga could pave way for more political deportations from Australia

Legal experts say the decision to cancel the tennis star’s visa was driven by politics rather than policy and are calling for scrutiny of the government’s broad immigration powers, reports Adam Hancock in Sydney

Wednesday 19 January 2022 12:26
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<p>File photo: Novak Djokovic prepares to take his seat on a plane to Belgrade, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates,17 January 2022</p>

File photo: Novak Djokovic prepares to take his seat on a plane to Belgrade, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates,17 January 2022

Novak Djokovic’s deportation from Australia following an 11-day visa saga sparked global interest in the fine print of the country’s immigration rules, with legal experts warning that the case could set a precedent for more expulsions on political grounds.

While the tennis star is now back home in Belgrade as the Australian Open unfolds without its defending champion, lawyers and activists are drawing attention to the extraordinary powers held by immigration ministers and advocating for an inquiry into a visa cancellation regime described as “dangerously dysfunctional and politicised”.

The Serb was deported on Sunday after Australia’s immigration minister Alex Hawke cancelled his visa, stating that Mr Djokovic’s presence in the nation could pose a risk to public health by fostering anti-vaccine sentiment, and even result in civil unrest.

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