Djokovic is Not Above Law: Australian Deputy PM

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Friday, January 7, 2021

World number one men’s tennis player Novak Djokovic should be deported from Australia if he has not told the truth about his exemption from vaccination rules, the deputy prime minister says.

Barnaby Joyce told media that rich people “can’t wander around the world thinking… they are above the laws”.

Djokovic, who had travelled to play in the Australian Open, is in immigration detention after his entry was denied.

A court will decide on whether he should be deported on Monday.

The 34-year-old Serbian player, who has said he is opposed to vaccination, had been granted a medical exemption to play in the tournament in Melbourne for unspecified reasons, a decision that infuriated many Australians.

The exemption was given by two independent medical panels organised by Tennis Australia, the body that runs the event, and Victoria state, tournament organisers said.

But on Wednesday, Australian Border Force (ABF) officials said Djokovic had “failed to provide appropriate evidence” for entry after arriving from Dubai. He is being held at a hotel used for immigration detention in a Melbourne suburb.

“If he hasn’t filled out the forms appropriately then he’s taking the sovereign capacity of another nation for a joke,” Mr Joyce told the BBC’s Newshour programme. “100% someone’s made a mistake and if he hasn’t told the truth then the person who’s made the mistake is Mr Djokovic.”

He added: “You can’t just wander around the world thinking that because you’re really rich you’re really above the laws of other nations.”

Djokovic’s team challenged ABF’s decision, and a hearing at the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia has been scheduled for Monday. It is not yet clear whether Djokovic will remain in the same hotel until then.