Australian government MP and former professional tennis player John Alexander is urging his colleagues to allow Novak Djokovic to remain in the country and compete in the Australian Open, a day after a court overturned the tennis champion’s visa cancellation.
- The Immigration Minister is yet to reveal whether he will use his powers to deport Djokovic from the country
- Liberal MP John Alexander has argued it is in Australia’s national interest for the Serbian tennis champion to compete
- Djokovic has indicated he intends to remain in the country to defend his Australian Open title
On Monday, a court found that Djokovic’s visa had been unreasonably cancelled and ordered his release from immigration detention, but Immigration Minister Alex Hawke could still use his ministerial powers to remove the tennis world number one from the country.
“The Minister is currently considering the matter and the process remains ongoing,” a spokesperson for Mr Hawke said in a statement on Monday night.
Federal Circuit Court Judge Anthony Kelly, who ordered Mr Djokovic’s release, said while it was not his place to interfere with the minister’s valid use of his powers, he was “very concerned” about the potential removal.
In a social media post on Monday night, Liberal MP John Alexander said Djokovic did not appear to present a serious health risk to Australia.
“So what would be the ‘public interest’ the Minister could potentially use to exercise his personal powers to deport our defending Australian Open tennis champion?” Mr Alexander asked.
“The Minister’s ‘personal powers to cancel visas’ are designed to prevent criminals otherwise walking our streets, or to prevent a contagious person otherwise walking our streets; they’re not designed to assist in dealing with a potential political problem of the day.”
Mr Alexander, who represents the Sydney electorate of Bennelong, rose to the rank of world number eight during a tennis career that spanned from the 1960s to the 1980s, and he became a prominent commentator after his retirement.
Djokovic, who was released from immigration detention immediately after the court’s ruling, last night expressed his gratefulness at the verdict and his intention to stay in the country to compete at the Australian Open.