The Australian Border Force is investigating whether Novak Djokovic incorrectly declared he had not travelled and wouldn’t accomplish that for 2 weeks earlier than his flight to Australia, within the newest twist within the tennis star’s visa cancellation saga.
Questions have been raised concerning the declaration accomplished by an agent for Djokovic, with social media posts seemingly exhibiting he was in Belgrade on Christmas Day earlier than flying to Australia from Spain on 4 January.
On Tuesday the Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, acquired a name from his Serbian counterpart, Ana Brnabić, through which he sought to handle the diplomatic fallout of the overturned visa cancellation by insisting Australia’s border insurance policies have been non-discriminatory.
Regardless of a win in court docket restoring his visa on Monday, Djokovic’s destiny will now be decided by Australia’s immigration minister, Alex Hawke, on account of his private energy to once more cancel the visa and deport the world’s No 1 male tennis star.
Any choice to recancel the visa would probably be met by a contemporary authorized problem from Djokovic, and a request for an injunction to remain out of immigration detention in order that he might play within the Australian Open, the place he’s chasing a male report twenty first grand slam singles title.
With a view to recancel the visa, Hawke must be glad of a floor for cancellation, equivalent to a menace to public security, and that cancellation is within the public curiosity.
That might deliver contemporary scrutiny to Djokovic’s pre-travel declaration and his public appearances within the days after his constructive Covid take a look at results of 16 December.
In his Australian traveller declaration, filed on 1 January, Djokovic declared “no” when requested: “Have you ever travelled or will you travel within the 14 days previous to your flight to Australia?”.
The declaration is accompanied with a warning that giving false or deceptive data is a “severe offence”, additionally punishable by civil penalties.
In paperwork filed to the federal circuit court docket, Djokovic mentioned that on 1 January he authorised his agent to submit this declaration, earlier than travelling to Melbourne from Spain through Dubai on 4 January.
In his interview with border drive officers on 6 January Djokovic confirmed the declaration was accomplished by his agent, “primarily based on” his Tennis Australia-approved medical exemption, however was not requested within the interview about travel within the fortnight earlier than arrival.
A Twitter put up by a Portuguese tennis reporter, Jose Morgado, seems to indicate on Djokovic was in Belgrade at Christmas, posing with the handball star Petar Djordjic.
Djokovic was additionally pictured enjoying tennis within the streets of Belgrade in a put up from 26 December.
Djokovic flew from Spain to Melbourne, the place he arrived at 11.30pm on 5 January.
The travel declaration comes on prime of reported anomalies on the official web site exhibiting Djokovic’s constructive covid take a look at, which was the idea for his claimed medical exemption from vaccination. Der Spiegel reported that the QR code linked to Djokovic’s Covid-19 take a look at on 16 December, printed in court docket paperwork on Monday, at instances appeared to return a damaging outcome.
In accordance with Der Spiegel, accessing Djokovic’s take a look at outcome through QR code on Monday night Australia time revealed a damaging take a look at outcome, earlier than a subsequent try confirmed a constructive outcome.
The web site returned solely constructive outcomes when accessed by the Guardian on Tuesday.
The New York Instances reporter Ben Rothenberg equally reported getting contradictory outcomes from the identical QR code.
If Djokovic did travel earlier than his flight it might arm the Australian authorities with contemporary materials to cancel his visa, on which no choice has but been taken.
A spokesman for Morrison mentioned he had a “constructive name with prime minister Brnabić this morning on Novak Djokovic”.
“The PM defined our non-discriminatory border coverage and its position in defending Australia through the Covid-19 pandemic.
“They each agreed to remain in touch on the difficulty, and to additional strengthening the bilateral relationship.”
Views inside the Australian authorities are combined on whether it ought to implement a zero tolerance method on the requirement to be vaccinated and reject Djokovic’s exemption primarily based on his current Covid take a look at outcome.
Whereas some Liberal MPs stress Djokovic’s good religion perception he had complied with necessities and the significance of his participation within the Australian Open, others imagine procedural unfairness within the first choice to cancel his visa modifications nothing in substance concerning the supposed threat to public well being.
Final week Morrison vacillated on the query, at first deferring to the Victorian state authorities about whether Djokovic needs to be allowed in with out quarantine, earlier than backflipping to declare “guidelines are guidelines” and the vaccination requirement have to be enforced.
In a press release on Tuesday the ATP tour mentioned it though it totally revered Australia’s “stringent immigration insurance policies” it was “clear Novak Djokovic believed he had been granted a mandatory medical exemption to be able to adjust to entry laws”.
“The sequence of occasions resulting in Monday’s court docket listening to have been damaging on all fronts, together with for Novak’s well-being and preparation for the Australian Open.”
Djokovic’s agent and attorneys have been contacted for remark.