The deputy prime minister believes that world number one men’s tennis player Novak Djokovic should be deported from Australia if he has not told the truth about his exemption from vaccination rules.
Wealthy people, “can’t go around the world thinking they’re above the law.”
Djokovic is being held in immigration detention after his entry to the Australian Open was denied.
A court will decide whether he should be deported on Monday.
Many Australians were outraged when the 34-year-old Serbian player, who has stated his opposition to vaccination, was granted a medical exemption to compete in the tournament in Melbourne for unspecified reasons.
According to tournament organizers, the exemption was granted by two independent medical panels organized by Tennis Australia, the event’s governing body, and Victoria state.
However, according to Australian Border Force (ABF) officials, Djokovic “failed to provide appropriate evidence” for entry after arriving from Dubai.
He is being held in an immigration detention hotel in a Melbourne suburb.
“If he hasn’t filled out the forms correctly, he’s making fun of another nation’s sovereign capacity,” Mr. Joyce said on BBC Newshour.
“Someone made a mistake, and if he didn’t tell the truth, then Mr Djokovic made the mistake.”
“You can’t just go around the world thinking that just because you’re wealthy, you’re above the laws of other countries,” he added.
Djokovic’s team has filed an appeal against ABF’s decision, and a hearing has been scheduled for Monday at the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia.
It’s unclear if Djokovic will stay in the same hotel until then.
Coronavirus: Novak Djokovic Vaccine Exemption Angers Australians
Earlier, Prime Minister Scott Morrison denied that Djokovic had been singled out, saying that no one in Australia was above the law.
Though the reason for Djokovic’s exemption has not been revealed, Mr. Morrison stated that contracting Covid-19 in the previous six months was not one of the federal criteria for one.
Mr. Morrison initially stated that he agreed with the Victorian government’s decision to grant Djokovic and other tennis players medical exemptions.
He is now being accused of politicizing the issue in the midst of a massive public backlash.
The prime minister is under pressure as a result of the country’s Covid-19 outbreak, and a federal election is set for May.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic defended Djokovic, saying he had been subjected to “harassment” and that “entire Serbia” supported him.
Mr. Morrison denied that his visa was revoked due to “any particular position in relation to Serbia.”
Srdjan, the player’s father, said his son was being held in a police-guarded airport room.
In a statement, he said, “This is a fight for the entire world, not just Novak.”