Australia to overturn Djokovic visa ban, source says
The Australian government is looking to overrule a US court ruling that blocked a visa ban against Novak Djokovic from entering the country.
The Federal Court of Australia ruled on Tuesday that the Djokovic visa ban infringes on the rights of Australian citizens.
But the ruling has been expected for weeks as the World Cup and the possibility of Djokovic arriving in Australia have been discussed openly.
Sources told Reuters that the government is looking to overturn the Federal Court decision through the Federal Court of Appeal, which is scheduled to be released on Thursday.
The Court of Appeal sits in Canberra, the capital of Australia’s east coast state of New South Wales.
“The government is considering all options,” Prime Minister Julia Gillard told reporters in New Zealand.
Australia’s foreign minister, Bob Carr, said he would “not comment” on the court ruling.
He added that he thought it would be a “sensible decision” by the government, but did not elaborate further.
Djokovic’s case is separate from the Australian government’s fight over its own ban against the two-times Wimbledon champion in favour of a 12-month ban for Australian player James Duckworth.
A federal court judge upheld the ban on Sept. 20, ruling that Djokovic was seeking to enter Australia on a “frivolous” visa for an event that was not in Australia, his court papers show.
An Australian foreign minister on Thursday denied media reports that the government was considering backing down from Djokovic’s visa ban.
“If media reports are true they represent a fundamental misunderstanding of the decision-making process of the Federal Court of Australia, in relation to a case involving one of our fellow citizens, Novak Djokovic,” Foreign Minister Stephen Smith told reporters in Canberra.
“The Federal Court decision was upheld on appeal, the decision has not been overturned.”
Duckworth, who was part of the Australian squad for Serbia’s first World Cup game against Russia on Sept. 11, had his ban reduced to a 12-month ban.
Duckworth could also participate in Australia’s upcoming Davis Cup team-tourney in October and November, his court papers show.
Djokovic’s Australian citizenship could