First they said somehow it wasn’t their responsibility the fact that the Australian government issued a visa. And this could have all been avoided. This government says it takes borders seriously and the issue of visas seriously.
There are people in this community who know that they have tried to get a visa for their mum or dad or aunty or uncle or child … to come to Australia. There are Australian citizens who are threatened with jail terms, you might recall, if they returned to Australia from India at one stage. But somehow the issuing of the visa for Novak Djokovic that occurred by the Australian government, that’s a surprise to the Morrison government that this was controversial.
This has been the lead sporting story … in the world for months. For months. On every back page of every newspaper in the world. Novak Djokovic is the No 1 male tennis player in the world. A great Queenslander, Ash Barty, is the No 1 female tennis player. And Novak Djokovic has been shooting for his 10th Australian Open trying to be the greatest grand slam champion of all time by winning his 21st title.
And the idea, the idea that it was unknown that this was coming, and the idea that only late on a Friday afternoon on the weekend before the tournament begins, after the draw has taken place we finally have a decision from the federal government says it all. There has been a great embarrassment for Australia, (and) it’s one that could have been avoided. The rules are clear, you need to be double vaccinated in order to enter Australia. And we still don’t have an explanation for how it is that the Australian government under Scott Morrison issued the visa in the first place. The right decision was to stop the visa being issued in the first place and the rules are very clear. What’s [happened] here is a debacle which has been dragged out for day after day after day.