WELLINGTON, New Zealand – (AP) – To people watching from afar, the treatment of tennis star Novak Djokovic by Australian immigration authorities might have seemed harsh.
But Australia has long taken a tough stance on immigration, including storing refugees in offshore detention camps and preventing overseas citizens from returning home during the pandemic. Many of its policies have been condemned by critics.
Djokovic, who is not vaccinated against the coronavirus, risks being deported from Australia after Immigration Minister Alex Hawke on Friday revoked his visa for the second time, citing health and “good order” considerations “.
He is not the first celebrity to undergo severe treatment.
British far-right commentator Katie Hopkins was kicked out of Australia last year after breaking quarantine rules. In 2007, American rapper Snoop Dogg was refused entry due to previous criminal convictions.
And in 2015, Australian authorities threatened to euthanize Pistol and Boo, Yorkshire Terrier dogs belonging to actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, who had entered the country on the couple’s private jet. The dogs survived; the couple’s romance did not.
Djokovic’s saga began earlier this month when he arrived in Melbourne to play at the Australian Open, hoping to cement his place in history as the first man to win 21 tournaments. of the Grand Slam.
But he ended up spending four nights confined to an immigrant detention hotel after authorities rejected his exemption from Australia’s strict vaccination rules and canceled his visa.
On Monday, he won a legal fight over procedural reasons that allowed him to stay and train, before Hawke made his decision on Friday. Djokovic is expected to appeal but lacks time and options.
Australia grants unusual authority to its immigration minister, who many refer to as the minister’s “divine powers”. Hawke can essentially overturn courts to deport people, with limited grounds for any appeal.
Kian Bone, a migration lawyer at Macpherson Kelley, said Djokovic may not have time to form an effective appeal before playing, forcing him to forfeit.
“Australia has always had highly codified and heavily legislated immigration policies,” Bone said. “And compared to other countries, we give extraordinary power to the Minister of Immigration.”
Australia’s modern history began with her as the beneficiary of tough immigration policies, with Britain sending tens of thousands of criminals to Australian penal colonies for 80 years, before stopping the practice in 1868.
When Australia formed its first federal government in 1901, one of its first mission orders was to pass the Immigration Restriction Act, which sought to prevent people of color from Asia, the Pacific Islands and elsewhere to enter.
The policy of “white Australia” continued for decades before the last vestiges were eliminated in the 1970s.
One of the victims was Filipino-American Lorenzo Gamboa, who enlisted in the United States Army in 1941 and was evacuated to Australia when the Philippines fell to Japan. He married an Australian and had two children. When he was discharged from the military he attempted to return to Australia but was refused permanent residence and was forced to leave.
His case sparked outrage in the Philippines and sparked a major diplomatic rift with Australia. He was finally allowed to settle in Australia in 1952.
In 2001, Australia implemented the “Pacific Solution” in which asylum seekers who tried to reach Australia by boat were sent to detention centers in Papua New Guinea or Nauru, rather than being allowed to stay on the Australian mainland.
Hundreds of asylum seekers have been accommodated on the islands until their numbers have been reduced in recent years. The scores still remain.
Journalist Behrouz Boochani, who had previously fled Iran, was held against his will on the islands for six years.
Using a smuggling phone and social media posts, Boochani detailed the unsanitary conditions, hunger strikes and violence in detention camps, as well as deaths caused by medical negligence and suicide.
He eventually used his phone to write a book, sending excerpts in Farsi to a translator via WhatsApp. Entitled “No Friend But the Mountains”, the book won a prestigious Australian award, the Victorian Prize for Literature. But he was never able to travel to Australia to collect his prize.
In 2019, Boochani fled to New Zealand, where he now lives.
New Zealand has strong ties to its neighbor, but Australia’s tough stance on immigration has caused tensions, especially in recent years after Australia began to enforce stricter policies on immigration. deportation of criminals to New Zealand.
Last year, New Zealand reluctantly agreed to repatriate suspected ISIS activist Suhayra Aden and her two young children, who had been detained in Turkey.
Aden had lived most of his life in Australia and had dual Australian and New Zealand citizenship. But Australia stripped him of his citizenship under its anti-terrorism laws, leaving New Zealand to take responsibility for his repatriation.
Despite protests from New Zealand, the Australian government, led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, has upheld its decision on Aden. It was equally resolved on Djokovic.
“The Morrison government is firmly committed to protecting Australia’s borders, particularly with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hawke said in a statement Friday.
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.