Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has claimed Novak Djokovic never had a ‘legitimate exemption’ to enter Australia – he just thought he did.
Djokovic announced at the start of the year that he was traveling to Australia with ‘exemption permission’ to play the Australian Open despite not being vaccinated.
He, though, was detained at the border when he arrived and had his visa cancelled.
It was reinstated by an Australian judge after ruling there were serious breaches in procedure by Australian Border Force, only for Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke to cancel it again and deport the world number one with an executive order.
In the Federal Court appeal that Djokovic ultimately lost, Hawke conceded the medical exemption was valid. However, that claim has been directly contradicted by Frydenberg, who says it never was, and the visa was only ever provisionally granted as part of an automated process.
“We get lots of visas, there’s a computer-generated process. It relies on the applicant putting in what they believe are their conditions,” Frydenberg told the Seven Network.
“[Djokovic] said that he had a legitimate exemption, but that wasn’t the case, and ultimately the decision of the minister was upheld.”
Having failed to win the judicial review case to get his visa reinstated, Djokovic left Australia on Sunday night and will not make any further comment until after the Australian Open.
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