The turmoil surrounding tennis star Djokovic in Australia is likely common

The Australian government’s decision last week to revoke Novak Djokovic’s entry visa was unfair, an Australian judge ruled on Monday upon Novak Djokovic’s release. Unusually for a judge, he had already ruled in favor of the tennis player during the hearing. He therefore raised the question of the rhetorical question of “what else could the Serbs do” to meet the official demands.

Djokovic was denied entry last week because officials believe he lacks the required documents for a medical exemption permit to enter the country without a coronavirus vaccination. Apparently, however, they uploaded this document – ​​if required – to the immigration authorities’ online portal, then proceeded to the Home Office to enter the country.

After a 14-hour flight to the immigration counter at midnight, things suddenly looked different. Apparently the authorities didn’t want to know about it. He rejected the documents.

Bureaucracy Birchermüesli

To hate? political influence? Maybe not. The cause of the chaos is perhaps much more common: the bureaucratic Birchermuseli of Australian civil servants. State officials don’t talk to federal government officials – one hand doesn’t know what the other is doing.

For once, an issue Australians face on a daily basis had a bright side. Refugee organizations couldn’t have asked for a better scam than this to point their finger at a bigger scam.

Dozens of failed asylum seekers are staying in the same hotel where Djokovic had to stay for several nights – some for up to nine years. The conditions are frightening: poor food, sometimes infested with insects, lack of fresh air, social isolation, suicidal tendencies. Jail only. For those who were looking for nothing but a safe life.

What is Secretary of Immigration Hawk doing?

Humanitarian organizations will long thank the Serbs for Djokovic enlightening world public opinion on this brutal practice. But not for his arrogance in willfully and intentionally endangering the health of the Australian people, at a time when Covid-19 has been devouring the country for two years like never before.

Having slapped this monumental judge across the face, Canberra must now focus on the point. Australian Immigration Secretary Alex Hawke has the power to kick Serbs out, just as he has the power to free unfortunate refugees from hotels. Djokovic has yet to win this game.

Urs Walterlin

SRF staff in Australia


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Born in Basel, Urs Walterlin has lived near Canberra, the Australian capital, since 1992. From there, he reports for SRF on Australia, New Zealand and Oceania.


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