Novak Djokovic could still be banned from Australia for three years despite winning his visa appeal court case.
Djokovic was released to Australia on Monday evening in Melbourne, but the federal minister for immigration maintains the government may pursue further powers to cancel the Serbian’s visa again.
Christopher Tan, the lawyer acting for the government, he told the court that the Minister for Immigration is now contemplating “personal power of cancellation”.
Should the government pursue that process and succeed though, it would raise the prospect of the Serbian being banned from Australia for three years.
This would not be an automatic ban, with the government maintaining already that they could permit Djokovic to return for the Australian Open in 2023 should they succeed in cancelling his visa again.
Judge Anthony Kelly thanked Mr Tan for the warning, adding: “I could have been something approaching incandescent if I had discovered that for the first time... this evening or the early hours of tomorrow.”
Judge Kelly concluded that Djokovic winning his appeal was not the end of the story: “The stakes have now risen rather than receded.
“I cannot purport to encroach on the valid exercise of a minister of executive power.”
Djokovic’s legal team filed papers to appeal against border control’s original decision confirming that the men’s No 1-ranked player tested positive for Covid last month and recovered.
He used that as grounds in applying for a medical exemption to Australia’s strict vaccination rules.
The decision at a hearing on Monday by the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia means Djokovic, a nine-time champion at Melbourne Park, will now have the chance to defend his 2021 title as things stand.
Djokovic was released from detention some time before 5:46pm local time (6:46am GMT), after judge Kelly’s order was announced at 5:16pm local time (6:16pm GMT) to release Djokovic within 30 minutes.
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