But court papers for the appeal today revealed the exact reasons why Mr Hawke decided to cancel the tennis star’s visa for the second time.
The Minister’s written reasons state that he considers that “Mr Djokovic’s presence in Australia may pose a health risk to the Australian community, as his presence in Australia may foster anti-vaccination sentiment”.
The minister said this could lead to, among other things:
- “An increase in anti-vaccination sentiment is being generated in the Australian community, leading to others refusing to be vaccinated or refusing to receive a booster shot.”
- “A reinforcement of the views of a minority of the Australian community who are still unvaccinated against COVID-19.”
- “People who choose not to receive a callback.”
- “Unvaccinated people become very sick and/or pass it on to others.”
- “Increased pressure on the Australian healthcare system.”
In his reasoning, Minister Hawke also said he considered Djokovic to have shown “an apparent disregard for the need to self-isolate following receipt of a positive COVID-19 test result”.
The minister referred to the fact that Djokovic attended an interview and a photo shoot with a French magazine The Team on December 18 when he knowingly tested positive for COVID-19.
“Given Mr Djokovic’s high-profile status and position as a role model in the sporting community and at large, his continued presence in Australia may foster a similar disregard for precautionary requirements after receiving a COVID positive rest. -19 in Australia.”
It has further been said that Djokovic’s presence in Australia could lead to an increase in anti-vaccination sentiment in the country, “potentially leading to an increase in civil unrest of the kind that has been experienced previously in Australia with rallies and demonstrations.
On the issue of Djokovic falsely indicating on his Australia Travel Declaration Form that he had not traveled within 14 days of arriving in Australia, the Minister said that one of Djokovic’s agents had provided a statutory declaration indicating that the incorrect information was his fault.
The minister said he assumed the statement was true.
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Djokovic’s attorneys will fight those points in Federal Circuit Court beginning at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow, with the hearing set to conclude tomorrow evening, before the Australian Open which begins on Monday.