Djokovic’s deportation illustrates the irrational, and frankly authoritarian, policies of the Australian government.
Those of you who know me personally know that politics and economics are not the only topics I talk about on a daily basis.
They are, undoubtedly, the topics I care about the most. Yet, since young, playing and talking about sports has been my ultimate hobby.
As billions of people around the globe, there is something unmatched about sports. Perhaps it is its unscripted and competitive nature or its harmless nationalism. But there is nothing like watching and discussing the latest Wimbledon final or Formula 1 Grand Prix.
By mentioning Wimbledon, I bet many of you are already guessing that tennis is among my favorite sports.
Yes, you’re right. I have played tennis since I was a kid, which is why I have been following the case of Novak Djokovic closely.
For those of you who have not been following this case, the situation is as follows: Novak Djokovic was set to play the Australian Open this week, which is one of the four most important tennis tournaments in the world. However, since Djokovic has not been vaccinated and did not provide a valid medical exemption, the number 1 ranked tennis player in the world has been deported from the country.
On this subject, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison welcomed the decision by the country’s court. Morrison said that the decision helps the country “keep our borders strong and keep Australians safe.”
The court’s decision ends days of controversy, which began as soon as Djokovic entered the country a few days ago. At the time, Djokovic and his camp traveled to Australia thinking that everything was ok. An expert panel of medical advisers working for the Australian Open had declared that Djokovic’s paperwork was in order for him to enter the country. The same statement was issued by a medical panel of the Victorian State government. However, Djokovic was stopped at the airport.
This is when things get complicated. Trying to avoid deportation, Djokovic’s lawyers argued that the Serbian player had COVID on December 16. Yet, there were numerous photos of Djokovic in public around that time. Moreover, an investigation later revealed that the Serbian could have had COVID as late as December 26. So, Djokovic had the losing hand in both cases.
From this perspective, what Djokovic did is wrong. He should not have lied about his positive test, and if he had COVID, he should not have been in public.
However, Djokovic is not testing positive anymore.
For this reason, let’s put aside this issue of the December test, and let’s focus on the bigger picture. What is happening with Djokovic is not just unscientific; it is also deeply unfair. Novak Djokovic is not a threat to the country’s safety, nor anyone who is unvaccinated. Novak Djokovic is not a criminal; he is just someone trying to do his work.
I also think that the actions of the Australian government against its citizens are borderline authoritarian. For most of the pandemic, Australians have had to apply for permission to leave the country. The country has also had severe lockdowns for almost two years. Citizens cannot travel from state to state as well. And even the army has been sent onto the streets to stop people from leaving their homes.
This is unacceptable. This is also why my organization, Students For Liberty, issued a statement in December condemning the “violent measures that the Australian government is taking to enforce their response to the pandemic.”
Among these measures, we included the “Martial law being enforced on the streets of Sydney,” the “citizens being forced out of their homes in the Northern Territory and put into quarantine camps,” and the “activists being jailed for expressing their opinions in the streets and on social media,” among others.
“At Students For Liberty, we believe that such conduct represents state-sanctioned violence and is unacceptable in a civil and free society. The government bears primary responsibility for creating an environment that protects individuals’ rights and ensures that all citizens can exercise their rights to freedom of speech and assembly, without threats of intimidation or harassment,” we added.
So, I think the case of Novak Djokovic is just the latest example of the madness that has been taking place in Australia for almost two years, which represents a clear violation of the rights and freedom of the Australian people.