Foot fault

Djokovich has done the Australian people a service. The cancellation of his visa after arriving in Australia for the Australian Open tennis grand slam will attract a lot of media attention globally. At this stage, global attention on Australia’s COVID19 rules is welcome.

Clearly, there has been a stuff-up of major proportions. Nobody gets on a plane in Europe to fly half way around the world to Australia without believing their paperwork for entry is in order. In Djokovich’s case, the question over his ability to play in the Australian Open has been openly discussed in the media for months. Tennis Australia has repeatedly said it was working in the background with Djokovich and Australian authorities to get the correct visa and necessary vaccination or medical exemption status in place. Yet after arriving in Melbourne around midnight, Djokovich was detained by Australian authorities and around 9 hours later it was announced his visa was cancelled and he would be deported.

Watch as fingers are pointed, bottoms are covered, politicians duck and weave more than an English opening batsman facing the Aussie fast bowlers on a green SCG wicket. What a debacle.

Djokovic is the victim.

Tennis Australia is in the sights. How is it possible that it worked behind the scenes for months and failed to advise Djokovich that he hadn’t met the entry requirements? Djokovic would have relied heavily on Tennis Australia for assistance in the process.

The border force officials are in the sights. Ordinarily, experiencing the pettifogging mistrustfulness of paid officials (as Kenneth Grahame wrote about in another context) is frustrating but not normally this serious. Yet media reports that other players have already entered Australia on the same basis as Djokovich tried to are worth keeping an eye on. Are some officials more mistrustful than others? If true, what will happen to those other players? (Update 7/1/22: Border force officials confirmed two other players are being investigated.)

Mostly, the politicians and bureaucracy are in the sights. Rules are rules, and they should apply to everyone is the current politician’s cry. Yes, but only if those rules are reasonable, easy to understand and clearly communicated. Do the rules meet any of those provisos? Clearly not, otherwise we wouldn’t be here.

Sunlight disinfects. Global attention on this debacle is to be welcomed by Australians. It will help show the chaos of Australian political leadership and will also demonstrate the utter pointlessness of requiring vaccinations as COVID cases skyrocket. The vaccines don’t prevent infection or transmission. Pointless rules, badly applied – this is Australia.