The Department of Home Affairs has revealed an estimate of the cost of their legal action against tennis world No.1 Novak Djokovic prior to the Australian Open.
Djokovic and the federal government engaged in back and forth litigation after border officials cancelled his visa shortly after he arrived in Melbourne, after the world No.1 was unable to produce documentation that he was exempt from Australia's strict requirement for visitors to have both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine.
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The Serbian star appealed the overturning of his visa and won, prompting Immigration Minister Alex Hawke to personally intervene and again cancel Djokovic's visa using his discretionary power.
Djokovic challenged this decision in the Federal Court but lost, and was subsequently deported from the country.
The entire took just over two weeks to play out through multiple court hearings, with the government ordered to pay Djokovic's costs for his initial successful appeal, and the reverse for Djokovic's subsequent court challenge.
During a sitting of the Senate Estimates committee on Monday evening, it was revealed the cost to taxpayers at roughly $360,000, before costs were factored in.
Home Affairs secretary Michael Pezzullo said 'Hopefully they’ll net out to zero' of the conflicting awarding of costs between the two cases.
Legal group manager for the department, Pip De Veau, said fees were yet to be paid as the amount of costs was calculated between the two parties.
“The combined estimate at this stage was in the vicinity of $360,000 without any awards going either way,” she said.
“That includes external legal expenses and legal expenses internally.
“Costs were awarded against the department in the first proceedings, costs were awarded for the department in the second.
“We’ll need to get the invoices and make the determination in consultation with Mr Djokovic’s lawyers as to how those two cost orders are sorted out.”
Novak Djokovic's vaccination dramas to continue after Aus Open deportation
The saga surrounding Djokovic's vaccination status looks set to continue for months after the Serbian star's deportation from Australia.
The 34-year-old is due to make his return at the Dubai Tennis Championships later this month, with unvaccinated players allowed entry into the event in the UAE.
However Djokovic will be severely hampered in the events he will be allowed to play for the remainder of the year if he continues to refuse the Covid-19 jab.
On Friday, the tournament director for the prestigious Monte Carlo Masters - an ATP 1000 event - said Djokovic won't be allowed to play unless he is vaccinated.
“If he meets the health requirements of the French government, we will be happy to host him,” Zeljko Franulovic said.
“He has to be in order. For the moment, as far as I know, he is not vaccinated.
"As soon as he is in good health with respect to government regulations, we will welcome him with open arms. To come into France, the first rule is to be vaccinated."
Djokovic has won the Monte Carlo Masters twice before - in 2013 and 2015.
This year's event will be held from April 9-17 before the French Open in May.
The upcoming Indian Wells tournament still lists Djokovic as an entrant, despite competitors needing to proved they are double vaccinated in order to play.
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