Border Force looking into Djokovic travel declaration on entry form to Australia
Questions are being raised about whether Novak Djokovic lied on an official Australian border entry form about where he had travelled to in the two weeks before he flew to Australia.
Anyone flying to Australia from overseas must fill out a health survey as part of their application to enter the country.
On that form it asks if the person has travelled, or has plans to travel, in the 14 days before they arrive in Australia.
In documents released as part of Djokovic’s Federal Circuit court case, he declared on his survey that he had not travelled in the last fortnight.
But a number of social media posts and news articles show that that may not have been the case.
To have been within the border entry rules, Djokovic would had to have been in Spain, where he flew out from (via Dubai) to get to Australia, for two weeks from late on 22 December.
He left Spain on 4 January and arrived in Australia late on Wednesday, 5 January.
However, in videos and photos on social media, Djokovic appears to have been in Belgrade, Serbia, at Christmas time, where he was filmed playing tennis in the street.
Djokovic’s lawyers and the Australian Border Force have been contacted for comment.
The tennis star’s fate remains hanging in the balance as Immigration Minister Alex Hawke continues to consider whether to use his ministerial powers to cancel the world No 1 male tennis player’s visa.
Djokovic was released from immigration detention in Melbourne yesterday after a judge overturned the cancellation of his visa.
The judge said Djokovic’s visa had been unreasonably cancelled by the Australian government and ordered his release, however, the court was told that Hawke could still use his ministerial powers to remove Djokovic from Australia on public health grounds.
“In line with due process, Minister Hawke will thoroughly consider the matter,” a spokesperson for the minister said this evening.
“As the issue is ongoing, for legal reasons it is inappropriate to comment further.”
Federal Circuit Court Judge Anthony Kelly, who ordered the Serb’s release, said while it was not his place to interfere with the minister’s valid use of his powers, he was “very concerned” about the potential removal.
Djokovic who is unvaccinated contracted Covid-19 in his homeland in December and used this as the basis for gaining a medical exemption from vaccination issued by both Australian Open organisers and the Victoria state government.
It meant he did not have to comply with a requirement for non-Australian citizens entering the country to be double vaccinated.
When he arrived in Mebourne last week he was detained by Border Force officials and within hours his visa was cancelled. The player lodged an immediate appeal.
Tension between Australia and Serbia
Djokovic’s plight has been closely followed around the world, creating political tensions between Belgrade and Canberra and sparking heated debate over national vaccination mandates.
At risk is the Serb’s shot at winning a record 21st Grand Slam at the Australian Open, the year’s first major, which starts in Melbourne on 17 January.
Today Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke to Serbia’s Prime Minister, Ana Brnabić, after she requested a phone call.
According to Serbian media outlet RTS, Brnabić “asked that Novak Djokovic be treated fairly by the Australian authorities”.
In a statement, the Prime Minister’s Office said the conversation between the two leaders was constructive, and Morrison insisted Australia’s travel restrictions were not discriminatory.
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