If Novak Djokovic spends another day in Australia it’s a kick in the face to millions of Aussies who have sacrificed for the greater good.
It’s two days since an Australian judge dramatically overturned the Federal Government’s decision to cancel Novak Djokovic’s visa and there still hasn’t been a compelling argument as to why he should be able to remain in our country.
There was certainly nothing remotely satisfying to come from the half a million dollars in lawyers fees spent in the Federal Circuit Court on Monday.
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Any hopes we’d actually get some direction on whether recently catching Covid was a valid reason for a medical exemption to enter our shores unvaccinated were wiped out by a predictable decision based on a technicality.
Since then some have argued Immigration Minister Alex Hawke should cut the Feds’ losses and opt not to use his power to send the world No. 1 packing because the situation boils down to whether Djokovic is a risk of spreading Covid or not.
If only we were all so lucky.
How much extra freedom could every single Australian have if their ability to travel, see loved ones, get married, attend funerals — the list goes on — came down to whether they had Covid or not.
How many of us could have done things we were desperate to do if all we had to do was find inconsistencies in the advice given by different levels of government or flaws in the way we were treated by officials.
Especially if we had endless millions to spend on a high-powered legal team.
Because let’s be crystal clear, that’s what Djokovic has done.
It didn’t matter that the Australian Government Department of Health website clearly states a “previous infection with Covid-19 is not considered a medical contraindication for Covid-19 vaccination”. Or that Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt reinforced the exact same point to Tennis Australia in November.
The court decided the Serbian star should have been given an extra 45 minutes to make his case to border officials and that the Federal Government had also given conflicting advice about whether an infection within six months was grounds for an exemption.
Again, human error and inconsistencies that countless of us could have found in the way various restrictions were applied to us during the pandemic.
The reason why we haven’t gone down that path — money aside — is because we’ve done our best to accept that policymaking during unprecedented times like these is hard.
The landscape has shifted constantly. Humans, especially under incredible stress, make the occasional blooper.
We’ve followed the rules given to us no matter how devastating they’ve been to our mental health, finances or ability to see our families in the belief we were playing our part in keeping Australians safe.
Even Judge Anthony Kelly’s oft-repeated “what more could this man have done?” line trotted out ad nauseam by Djoker’s supporters since it was uttered is laughable.
Um, maybe got vaccinated like thousands of other Aussies who were forced to get the jab despite being really reluctant — and in many cases terrified — to do so.
Regardless of what some suggest the political fallout could be, these are the people Mr Hawke has to keep front of mind when considering today whether to kick out Djokovic or not.
Not what the opposition or the media might say. But your average Aussie who has kept doing the right thing over and over again simply because they were asked to.
Originally published as Novak Djokovic has to leave Australia today