Home Affairs minister addresses Novak Djokovic's three-year ban

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·Sports Reporter
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Novak Djokovic could be banned from Australia for up to three years following his deportation on Sunday, Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews says. Pictures: Getty Images
Novak Djokovic could be banned from Australia for up to three years following his deportation on Sunday, Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews says. Pictures: Getty Images

Home Affairs minister Karen Andrews has suggested the federal government could enforce the up to three year ban on travelling to Australia earned by Novak Djokovic after he was deported on Sunday evening.

The long running saga surrounding the Serbian world No.1's entry to Australia was put to bed, at least temporarily' when the Federal Court sided with Immigration Minister Alex Hawke over the his use of his discretionary power to deport Djokovic.

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Djokovic left the country on Sunday night, on the eve of the Australian Open getting underway.

A nine-time champion at Melbourne Park, the unvaccinated Djokovic said he was 'disappointed' with the outcome after leaving court on Sunday.

However Minister Andrews had limited sympathy for the tennis superstar, saying the situation could have been avoided had Djokovic simply been vaccinated against Covid-19, like the majority of his colleagues on tour.

Speaking to Sky News on Monday, she said Djokovic could have to demonstrate why he should be allowed to return to Australia in the future.

"It's a matter or him to consider ... but a three-year exclusion could apply," she said.

"(The exclusion) can be waived in compelling circumstances, but it's not a matter for today or tomorrow but some time in the future."

The saga took a toll on other players who were preparing for the first grand slam of the year in the shadow of Djokovic's court case, with several speaking out against his decision to remain unvaccinated.

PM Scott Morrison weighs in on Novak Djokovic decision

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Djokovic may be able to return to the country under the right circumstances.

Mr Morrison said the rules were clear surrounding entry to Australia, which needed to be enforced.

"The border principle is important and we were going to hold that line and it was effective," he told 2GB.

"This is someone who sought to come to Australia and not comply with entry rules. We have always been consistent and strong and very effective in maintaining the integrity of borders."

The prime minister said Djokovic did not have a valid medical exemption to enter the country for the Australian Open, which starts on Monday.

Djokovic was using a previous COVID-19 infection as a reason for a medical exemption not to be vaccinated, and while it was approved by a Victorian government and Tennis Australia panel, it was not valid in the view of the federal government.

Novak Djokovic's visa fiasco highlights the incompetence of the Scott Morrison-led federel government, the Labor's Kristina Keneally says. Pictures: Getty Images
Novak Djokovic could return for th 2023 Australian Open, but only if he complies with visa requirements, PM Scott Morrison says. Pictures: Getty Images

"Djokovic was wrong, it's as simple as that," Mr Morrison said.

Following the court's decision, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said the situation had been a farce, and accused Australia of a witch hunt against Djokovic.

Labor home affairs spokeswoman Kristina Keneally said while the opposition welcomed the decision to deport Djokovic, the government had "bungled" the situation.

"Anyone could have seen this crisis coming. The Australian Open was not a secret event," she told ABC TV.

"Novak Djokovic, a known anti-vax proponent declared he wanted to come to Australia and yet the Morrison government did nothing.

"This has been a monumental bungle at our borders by the Morrison government. They want to run around and pat themselves on the back about it. They deserve a kick up the backside."

Djokovic has been replaced in the draw by Italian Salvatore Caruso.

The Australian Open will begin on Monday morning.

With AAP

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