'Where are you': Minister under fire over Novak Djokovic 'shambles'

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Jacqui Lambie, pictured here calling out Alex Hawke over the Novak Djokovic debacle.
Jacqui Lambie has called out Alex Hawke over the Novak Djokovic debacle. Image: Getty/AAP

Independent Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie has called out Immigration Minister Alex Hawke over the Novak Djokovic fiasco, calling on him to make a decision on whether the tennis star will be deported.

The ugly saga has now entered a second week and there is still no word from Hawke just 72 hours out from the Australian Open.

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The government is reportedly leaning towards cancelling Djokovic's visa again, but the World No.1 is almost certain to challenge that decision in court.

"Why does this keep dripping out of the tap," Lambie said on Channel Nine on Friday morning.

"Alex Hawke, where are you? Missing in action?

"If you can't make a decision on Novak Djokovic, goodness me, how are you guys running the country? This is an absolute shambles."

Senator Lambie said Djokovic should be sent packing if he has broken the rules.

In the same segment, Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said while the visa issue was a matter for Mr Hawke, the government had been very clear about its border control measures requiring people to be double vaccinated for Covid-19 before entering Australia.

"Our policy, not to come to any specific case, remains the same," Senator Birmingham said.

But shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers said if Djokovic didn't meet the visa requirements, he shouldn't have been granted a visa in the first place.

"When Scott Morrison thought there was a political opportunity in this, he was all over it," Mr Chalmers said.

"Now that it's gone so badly, he wants to pretend it has nothing to do with him and it's all Alex Hawke's job and all of his fault."

Novak Djokovic, pictured here during a practice session ahead of the Australian Open.
Novak Djokovic plays a forehand during a practice session ahead of the Australian Open. (Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images)

Alex Hawke still considering decision on Novak Djokovic

Mr Hawke has been pondering whether to use his discretionary powers to deport the Serbian tennis player for most of this week.

Asked on Thursday whether Djokovic would have his visa cancelled, the Prime Minister noted Mr Hawke was still considering.

"I will refer to Mr Hawke's most recent statement, and that position hasn't changed," Mr Morrison said in Canberra.

"These are personal ministerial powers, able to be exercised by Minister Hawke, and I don't propose to make any further comment at this time."

The Prime Minister later said Australia's border policy had not changed since reopening to international travellers in December.

"The individual has to show they are double-vaccinated, or must provide acceptable proof they can't be vaccinated for medical reasons," Mr Morrison said.

The saga took a bizarre twist on Thursday afternoon when the Australian Open draw was delayed for an over an hour.

When it finally got underway following the PM's press conference, Djokovic was drawn to face Serbian compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round.

with AAP

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