January 15 Djokovic Australia visa hearing news

Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic is fighting against the Australian government’s decision to cancel his visa.

Before the Federal Court broke for lunch, lawyers for both sides were given the opportunity to state their arguments as to why Djokovic’s visa should — and should not — be canceled.

If you’re just catching up, here’s what’s happening.

Why are Djokovic’s lawyers in court? The top-ranked men’s tennis player is trying to overturn a decision Friday to cancel his visa. He wants to compete in the Australian Open, which kicks off Monday — and hopefully win a record-breaking 21st grand slam title.

What are his lawyers arguing? Djokovic’s lawyer Nick Wood laid out three grounds why Immigration Minister Alex Hawke had made a jurisdictional error.

Wood focused on the first ground, arguing that the minister failed to consider the consequences of canceling Djokovic’s visa. He said it was possible that ejecting Djokovic will serve to galvanize anti-vaxxers against the government — exactly what the government says it’s trying to avoid.

The other two grounds are that it was not open to the minister to be satisfied the presence of Djokovic “is or may be” a relevant risk, and that the decision to bar him on his “stance on vaccination” was unreasonable or irrational.

What about the government? But Stephen Lloyd, acting for Hawke, said Djokovic’s visa cancelation wasn’t only about his potential to ignite protests among anti-vaxxers.

He said Djokovic had shown little regard for Covid-19 restrictions by ignoring a positive Covid-19 test and failing to wear a mask during a photoshoot. Lloyd said that could threaten public health by encouraging others to ignore health directions.

Where is Djokovic? Early Sunday morning, Djokovic was driven from the Park Hotel in Melbourne, where he is being held in immigration detention, to his lawyers’ office to watch the proceedings.

For a short time, two Djokovic fans stood outside the office building, showing their support for the star and watching the hearing on a mobile phone.

What happens next? A decision is expected to be made today about whether the world’s No. 1 tennis play will contest the Australian Open — or if the visa cancelation stands and he needs to leave the country.

source: cnn.com