Tennis star Novak Djokovic loses his bid to stay in Australia

Tennis star Novak Djokovic loses his bid to stay in Australia

Novak Djokovic is set to be deported from Australia after the 20-time grand slam champion’s legal team failed to overturn Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s decision to cancel his visa.

The case was heard by a full bench of the Federal Court of Australia, and speaking on behalf of the full court, Chief Justice James Allsop handed down their orders on Sunday afternoon, less than 24 hours before the Australian Open gets underway.

The decision was unanimous, and full reasons will be published at a later date. Djokovic was ordered to pay costs.

“This is not an appeal against the decision of the executive government,” Allsop told the court. “It is an application to the court as a separate arm of government being the Commonwealth judicial branch to review a decision by a member of executive, the minister, for the lawfulness or legality of the decision on the three grounds put forward.

“These grounds focus on whether decision was for different reasons irrational or legally unreasonable. It is no part or function of the court to decide upon the merit or wisdom of the decision.”

Australians and tennis fans described the conclusion to the Djokovic saga as an embarrassing farce that reflects poorly on Australia and the federal government.

The 34-year-old’s hopes of defending his Australian Open title are over.

Justice Allsop said he does not believe any further orders are necessary.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke says he is pleased his decision to cancel Novak Djokovic's visa was upheld. 

"I welcome today's unanimous decision by the Full Federal Court of Australia, upholding my decision to exercise my power under the Migration Act to cancel Mr Novak Djokovic's visa in the public interest," he said.

"Australia's strong border protection policies have kept us safe during the pandemic, resulting in one of the lowest death rates, strongest economic recoveries, and highest vaccination rates in the world.

"Strong border protection policies are also fundamental to safe-guarding Australia's social cohesion which continues to strengthen despite the pandemic.

"Australians have made great sacrifices to get to this point and the Morrison Government is firmly committed to protecting this position, as the Australian people expect."

More than two-thirds of Australians believe Novak Djokovic should be sent home without playing in the Australian Open. An exclusive survey for The-Sun Herald and Sunday Age shows 71 per cent of Australians think the world No.1 should not be allowed to stay despite his claim for an exemption from rules that require visitors to be fully vaccinated.