Djokovic case highlights Australia’s arbitrary and unfair border policies

The decision today to cancel Novak Djokovic’s visa highlights how arbitrary Australia’s border policies and immigration decisions are, say lawyers.

“This case demonstrates how political the decisions about borders and migration are in this country,” said Mr Greg Barns SC, spokesperson for the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

“The broad discretion given to the Minister means that political considerations drive decisions that can seriously impact people’s lives. It is astonishing that we have allowed one person to have this level of unchecked control and extraordinary power.

“The powers given to the Immigration Minister and our border officials have been increasing over time with no corresponding increase in transparency or accountability. In many cases, there are no rights to appeal the Minister’s decision or any meaningful scrutiny of these decisions.

“Most people don’t have the resources that Djokovic has to engage legal teams to defend them.

“The capricious approach taken to making decisions regarding visas for tennis players this week reflects the treatment so many vulnerable people receive when they arrive in Australia.

“This government’s obsession with harsh border policies combined with its arbitrary approach to visa cancellation and detention has created a debacle this week but, more importantly, has destroyed the lives of thousands of people for many years.”

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