Scott Morrison's massive admission in ugly Novak Djokovic saga
While many Australians were disappointed that Scott Morrison couldn't provide an update on the Novak Djokovic saga on Thursday, he did give a huge hint about which way he wanted it to go.
Djokovic faces another D-Day in his battle to land the chance to defend his Australian Open title, but there is still no guarantee it will mark the end of the drawn-out saga.
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The Serbian champion is waiting to hear whether the Australian government will revoke his visa for a second time as the row over his medical exemption from the country's Covid-19 inoculation rules drags on into its second week.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke, who has the discretionary power to cancel the visa, was expected to announced his decision on Thursday.
But when Prime Minister Morrison fronted the media in Canberra, he couldn't provide an update.
"These are personal ministerial powers able to be exercised by Minister Alex Hawke and I don't propose to make any further comment at this time," Mr Morrison said.
However the PM did provide a massive hint about what his desired outcome is, saying he expected immigration officials "to implement the policy of the government".
"All I will simply say is the reason we have had since 15 December where fully vaccinated eligible visa holders could travel to Australia without needing to apply for a travel exemption and enter those states allowing them to enter quarantine free, the individual has to show they are double vaccinated or must provide acceptable proof that they can't be vaccinated for medical reasons," he said.
"That's the policy which hasn't changed. That is the policy and we would expect authorities to be implementing the policy of the government when it comes to those matters.
"That relates to people who are coming to Australia. These are non-citizens, non-residents.
"If you're not a citizen or resident, the health rules we have in place to protect our borders and our border protection policies have been central to the government's achievements when it comes and Australia's achievements generally inhabit one of the lowest death rates, strongest economies and highest vaccination rate in the country."
Novak Djokovic expected to continue fight in court
The unvaccinated Djokovic, who has now learned his first round opponent in the Australian Open - probably next Monday or Tuesday - will be his fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic, is reportedly determined to continue the fight should the verdict go against him.
Multiple reports suggest that the government is leaning towards revoking the visa again and that Djokovic's lawyers would immediately launch a legal appeal over any attempt at deportation, with the start of the grand slam less than 72 hours away.
Djokovic was continuing to practise at Rod Laver Arena as usual on Thursday.
Yet the noise surrounding the 34-year-old's potential reappearance continues to be deafening, with Djokovic's cause clearly not helped by his admission that a wrong entry declaration had been made on his visa.
A box was ticked that confirmed he had not travelled abroad in the two weeks before leaving for Australia, even though he had actually been to Spain from Serbia.
He also acknowledged he shouldn't have done an interview and photoshoot for a French newspaper while infected with Covid-19 before Christmas.
One online poll by the News Corp media group showed that 83% of respondents were now backing the idea of the government trying to deport Djokovic.
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said most Australians disapproved of Djokovic's stance, saying: "Most of us thought because Mr Djokovic hadn't been vaxxed twice that he would be asked to leave - well, that was our view, but it wasn't the court's view.
"The vast majority of Australians ... didn't like the idea that another individual, whether they're a tennis player or ... the king of Spain or the Queen of England, can come up here and have a different set of rules to what everybody else has to deal with."
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