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A vaccine so good we have to punish The Worlds Best Tennis Player?

UPDATE: Judges decision is final. Djokovic to be deported. He faces a three year ban potentially. “An embarassing farce”.

No one looks good in the Novak Djokovic Deportation saga, but ponder what it says about the vaccines.  We’re deporting the best tennis player in the world — not because of the germs he might spread, but to because of the ideas he might spread.

“It’s in the public interest” says the Immigration Minister

While some are cheering One Rule for All, ponder that we’re punishing someone because of what other people might do?

Djokovic is a political prisoner:

Immigration minister Alex Hawke didn’t dispute Djokovic’s claim of a medical exemption… [he] said allowing the player to stay could sway some Australians against getting vaccinated.

“Mr. Djokovic’s presence in Australia may pose a health risk to the Australian community in that his presence in Australia may foster antivaccination sentiment,” Hawke said in a document detailing his decision.

“His presence in Australia, given his well-known stance on vaccination, creates a risk of strengthening the antivaccination sentiment of a minority of the Australian community,” Hawke said in the cancellation notice.

 —Wall Street Journal

It’s a free speech battle. And yet Djokovic didn’t come here to make a political point. He wasn’t brandishing his state of unvaccination. He has steadfastly refused to discuss his medical choices.

If Australia can’t guarantee players in a Grand Slam will be free of political interference we don’t deserve to host one. Two other players with medical exemptions arrived in Australia and were moving around freely, but turned around and left after Djokovic was detained. It’s all so sordid. Renata Voracova was deported after being ordered to strip in a six-hour interrogation. Others like Frenchman Jeremy Chardy chose not to even come after having an adverse reaction to his first dose and deciding not to have the second.

If the border rule about vaccination was about health and not politics, it would have allowed people to use alternatives like testing, or quarantine, or effective antivirals.

It’s become a farce — a global advertising campaign that says “Don’t visit Australia”. Tourism Australia must be cringing.

It’s not “one law for all” when it’s selectively enforced

Some say deporting Djokovic is a victory for “one rule for all”. But only the unvaxxed will be given a legal visa, allowed to fly in, detained, and post hoc have all their details scrutinized by teams of lawyers and be turned into a media circus and a “lesson” for the public.

How many vaccinated tennis players got things wrong on their forms? Who knows? Apparently no one verified the details of Novak’s forms before he was given a visa, so presumably no one checked any other ones either.  Will the Australian government go through all the vaccinated players applications now and arrest them on court if any got things wrong?

The unvaccinated are being punished and singled out.

Why did they issue him a visa in the first place?

What sacrifice exactly are we protecting?

Prime Minister Scott Morrison:

“Australians have made many sacrifices during this pandemic, and they rightly expect the result of those sacrifices to be protected,” he said Friday evening.

Because we are certainly not protecting the hard border any more. Australia has had 1.5 million cases of Covid (that we know of) in the last four weeks. All of whom ultimately caught it in a chain from double-vaccinated travellers.

Perhaps Scott Morrison is afraid that people who had been forced into getting a vaccine they really didn’t want would realize they were bullied into it, and should have had a choice too?

As Alexandra Marshall @ellymelly says:
#Scomo said that #covid19 vaccination is NOT mandatory.

#Scomo had Alex Hawke throw #Novak out of the country for ‘inciting’ antivaxx sentiment.

How can you be deported for ‘inciting’ sentiment against a health order that ISN’T mandatory?

In the latest news a judge (or three) will decide Sunday if Djokovic can stay.

Seen on Twitter from @TennisSerbia

Novak Djokovic

The donations don’t excuse people breaking the rules, but in the PR game of Australia versus Novak, Australia looks embarrassing. Novak wants to play tennis. We are not being good sports.

After the government lost in court, they waited days til 5:50pm Friday night to announce they were revoking his visa for a competition that starts Monday. Presumably they figured they had a weak case and didn’t want him to have more time to appeal.

Australians justifiably hate the hypocrisy of the rich and famous getting exemptions, so this has lit a fire among fed-up Australians. But the real target of that anger should be spread a lot wider. If the rules really mattered, the government would have investigated all the visa applicants before they gave them visas. If it was about health then we can hardly block the unvaccinated when the vaccinated have the same viral loads. If we were trying to stop Covid on planes we’d ask people to take ivermectin.

Novak thought he had a legal visa. Read how it was a mess from the start. The rules about exemptions appear to have been shifting sand. The Minister for Health said there were no exceptions. But Tennis Australia advised players and said they were following the rules on the Health Dept’s Website which has now changed. Apparently 26 players applied for exemptions but only a handful were given, so it does seem a tad suspiciously convenient that the tournament’s major drawcard got one, which must have suited Tennis Australia, ka-ching ka-ching, as well as Novak. Tennis Australia don’t issue visas, but it all reeks.

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