And we are done. The hearing for today is finished. We are waiting to see the application and submissions from Novak Djokovic’s legal team – due by midday, and the government’s submissions – by 10pm tonight.
There, we will see the arguments that are going to be put forward for Djokovic staying in the country (why the minister’s decision to cancel his visa was unreasonable), and the government’s case for removing him.
We know some of what the government will argue – that Djokovic’s continued presence in the country has the potential to “excite anti-vaccination sentiment” in Australia. It was argued in court on Friday that kicking him out of the country would do much the same (but that doesn’t establish the minister’s decision was unreasonable).
The judge is going to consider ordering the matter before the full bench of the federal court (three judges) and will advise today on that.
Tasmania reveals Covid numbers
Tasmania has recorded 1,139 new Covid cases. Twenty-two people are in hospital and one person is in intensive care.
Most of those positives came from rapid antigen tests, and just 255 from PCR tests.
Chief health officer Paul Kelly has been talking about the potential for a fourth booster shot at a press conference:
At the moment the only country that I’m aware of that has an actual program of this is Israel. I spoke to the Israeli ministry of health on Monday. We have had regular meetings throughout the pandemic, it’s been very useful to swap things.
We teach them some things, they teach us some things and [it’s] been very valuable. I asked about the fourth dose. They are keeping that ... to people with a higher risk of severity. So older people, I believe it’s over 60, there are people with chronic diseases particularly those that lead to [compromised immunity]. And healthcare workers. They have started with that, they are still evaluating that program and they have promised in the coming weeks to share that evaluation with us. It will be very helpful.
Health minister Greg Hunt was also there. He said:
I particularly want to acknowledge the work of our pathologists and our healthcare workers. Our pathologists have been working for two years literally around the clock, our general healthcare sector, GPs, our pharmacists, and all of those nurses, doctors, carers, cleaners right across the system. Everybody involved, they kept Australia safe and there are real signs of hope today. We have cross the 95% threshold for 16 plus vaccinations.
We have had over 1 million doses delivered in a three day period. The highest not just through the pandemic but on record in Australian history. And as Prof Kelly has said, there are very clear signs of stabilisation and operating within the system capacity in our hospitals. And so it’s challenging times but what we know is that it’s challenging times for the whole world with over 4 million cases a day and Australians are rising to the occasion and I want to thank everybody, take care, we will continue to encourage people to be vaccinated but they are doing an incredible job. Thanks very much. We will get through this. We have done it before. We will do it again.
Labor leader says Djokovic case a 'debacle'
The Novak Djokovic “debacle” is an embarrassment that could have been avoided, Labor leader Anthony Albanese said this morning. He said it was “characteristic” of the Morrison government:
First they said somehow it wasn’t their responsibility the fact that the Australian government issued a visa. And this could have all been avoided. This government says it takes borders seriously and the issue of visas seriously.
There are people in this community who know that they have tried to get a visa for their mum or dad or aunty or uncle or child ... to come to Australia. There are Australian citizens who are threatened with jail terms, you might recall, if they returned to Australia from India at one stage. But somehow the issuing of the visa for Novak Djokovic that occurred by the Australian government, that’s a surprise to the Morrison government that this was controversial.
This has been the lead sporting story ... in the world for months. For months. On every back page of every newspaper in the world. Novak Djokovic is the No 1 male tennis player in the world. A great Queenslander, Ash Barty, is the No 1 female tennis player. And Novak Djokovic has been shooting for his 10th Australian Open trying to be the greatest grand slam champion of all time by winning his 21st title.
And the idea, the idea that it was unknown that this was coming, and the idea that only late on a Friday afternoon on the weekend before the tournament begins, after the draw has taken place we finally have a decision from the federal government says it all. There has been a great embarrassment for Australia, (and) it’s one that could have been avoided. The rules are clear, you need to be double vaccinated in order to enter Australia. And we still don’t have an explanation for how it is that the Australian government under Scott Morrison issued the visa in the first place. The right decision was to stop the visa being issued in the first place and the rules are very clear. What’s [happened] here is a debacle which has been dragged out for day after day after day.
We’re underway. Justice David O’Callaghan has raised the possibility of Djokovic’s hearing tomorrow coming before a full court of three judges in the federal court, rather than being heard by a single judge.
“A full court can be convened commencing tomorrow morning,” the judge said.
Djokovic’s legal team is happy for the matter to come before a full court, three judges. The immigration minister opposes a full court hearing.
Djokovic court hearing begins
We are about to get underway in the federal court. Novak Djokovic’s attempt to stay in the country has been brought before a new judge, Justice David O’Callaghan, this morning.
A final outcome is not expected today (though nothing would surprise in this case). Today’s hearing will deal with Djokovic’s transfers between meetings with border force officials, his lawyers and detention, and any procedural matters concerning the hearing, which will take place tomorrow.
But we are expecting submissions from Djokovic’s lawyers today, which will outline his case to stay in the country. Essentially, he has to argue why the immigration minister’s decision to exclude him from the country on public health grounds is unreasonable.
For those playing along at home:
Strap in, folks. Novak Djokovic v minister for immigration, citizenship, migrant services and multicultural affairs is about to get underway in the federal court of Australia in Melbourne. Ben Doherty is going to be keeping you updated.
Novak Djokovic court hearing expected at 10.15am
Ahead of Novak Djokovic’s last-ditch legal bid to stay in Australia to defend his Australian Open title, his homeland Serbia has swung behind him in vociferous support.
A court hearing in the Federal Court begins in less than half an hour. We are expecting to see submissions from Djokovic’s legal team on why he should be allowed to stay in the country before lunchtime.
On Instagram, Serbian president Aleksandar Vučić said the world number one was being harassed by the Australian government for its own political advantage:
If you wanted to forbid Novak Djokovic to win the trophy for the 10th time, why didn’t you return him immediately, why didn’t you tell him that it was impossible to get a visa?
Why do you mistreat him, why do you harass him, as well as his family and a nation that is free and proud?
Is all this necessary to win some elections and please your public?
In nationalistic overtones, Vucic said Serbia would continue to defend Djokovic:
We will fight for Novak Djokovic and the fact that you will harass him for a day, two or five more or less will not change the sentiments of our people towards the people of Australia that we highly respect and appreciate, but also our opinion of Novak Djokovic.
You can write hundreds of thousands of the worst articles about him, he will remain the greatest tennis player of all time, and he will always be in our hearts.
Serbia’s royal family also spoke out in defence of their “brave brother”. Prince Filip and Princess Danica Karađorđević, are the son and daughter-in-law of Aleksandar Karadjordjevic, the Belgrade-based Crown Prince of Yugoslavia:
When tyranny shows its ugly face then it is our duty to speak out. Many will not recognise we are heading down this dangerous path since tyranny has a cunning way of disguising itself as an act of good, therefore, those who speak out are often met with disapproval and outrage, as is the case of our brave brother Novak Djokovic.
Michael McGowan has taken a look at New South Wales premier Dominic Perrottet’s hectic start:
After 100 days in office and with skyrocketing Omicron cases, the NSW premier’s bullish approach has not always gone to plan.
Victoria reports 23 new Covid deaths
And here are the Victorian Covid case numbers: 23 people have died, and there are 115 people in intensive care. There were 25,526 positive cases, 12,857 of those results are from rapid antigen tests.
“Although Angus Taylor’s interest in Jam Land is through an indirect shareholding, it puts him in the unusual position of being connected to a case challenging the decision of one of his government’s own ministers,” Lisa Cox and Anne Davies write:
Shared without comment.
NSW reports 20 new Covid deaths
Here are today’s Covid numbers from New South Wales. Twenty lives lost, those poor families. There were 48,768 cases, 21,748 of them from rapid antigen tests.
NSW Health says almost 16,000 of those rapid test results are from the past week. They also say there may be some doubling up of numbers, where people have had a rapid test and a PCR test. It’s getting harder to understand the meaning of these numbers.