Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Serbian counterpart has requested direct liaison between governments about issues over Novak Djokovic’s visa.
The prime minister’s office said Mr Morrison had a constructive call with Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić on Tuesday morning.
In the call, Mr Morrison explained Australia’s non-discriminatory border policy and its role in protecting the country during the covid pandemic.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has reportedly spoken to Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić over Novak Djokovic’s visa issues
The leaders agreed to stay in contact on the issue, and to further strengthening the bilateral relationship.
Serbia’s public broadcaster, RTS, reported the Serbian prime minister asked Mr Morrison to ensure the tennis star was treated with dignity.
‘The (Serbian) prime minister especially emphasised the importance of the conditions for training and physical preparation for the upcoming competition, considering that Novak Djokovic was not allowed to train in the previous days, and the tournament in Melbourne starts this weekend,’ RTS reported.
‘The prime minister also asked Mr Morrison to be in direct contact in the coming days and for all information to be exchanged directly between the government of Serbia and the government of Australia.’
Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic was much more blunt in the days before Djokovic’s visa cancellation was overturned.
‘I’ve just finished my telephone conversation with Novak Djokovic. I told our Novak that the whole of Serbia is with him and that our bodies are doing everything to see that the harassment of the world’s best tennis player is brought to an end immediately,’ he said on Thursday.
‘In line with all norms of international law, Serbia will fight for Novak, truth and justice. Novak is strong, as we all know.
‘What is not fair-play is the political witch hunt (being conducted against Novak), by everybody including the Australian prime Minister pretending that the rules apply to all.’
She reportedly emphasised the importance of the tennis star’s training conditions in the lead up to the Australian Open
It comes as the fallout over the cancellation of Djokovic’s visa – which was then overturned – continues to make international headlines.
Following the court decision, which the government says was ‘on a procedural ground’, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke is considering whether to use his discretionary powers to cancel Djokovic’s visa.
‘The minister is currently considering the matter and the process remains ongoing,’ a spokesman told AAP.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the Australian Open was bigger than one player but that he was not lobbying Mr Hawke to act either way.
‘I’m not going to be out there every day calling for him to use them or not use them, that’s a matter for him,’ he said.
‘He ought to do that free of any pressure, free of any public debate.’
The Serbian Prime Minister asked Mr Morrison to ensure the tennis star was treated with dignity
Labor frontbencher Kristina Keneally said the Djokovic saga is a lose-lose for the federal government, as the fallout over his immigration detention and visa issue continues.
The opposition home affairs spokeswoman said the confusion over the tennis star’s visa comes down to a lack of planning by the government.
Senator Keneally said the government should have been clear about whether it was right for Djokovic to enter the country to play in the Australian Open when it initially granted him the visa.
‘What does it say if you get deported? And what does it say about if he gets to stay?’ Senator Keneally told the Seven Network.
‘If (he) gets deported it does incredible damage to Australia, if he gets to stay it does incredible damage to our tough border laws and is a real insult to the Australians who did the hard work of lockdowns and vaccination.’
Meanwhile Federal Liberal MP and former professional tennis player John Alexander said the government should let Djokovic stay and compete in the competition beginning this weekend
Federal Liberal MP and former professional tennis player John Alexander said the government should let Djokovic stay and compete in the competition beginning this weekend.
‘I see it as something that should not become a political problem. It is not political at this point,’ he told the ABC.
‘The rules regarding visa applications and approvals are quite clear, they’re complex, but they are clear, and the judge has looked at this obviously very, very carefully and he has made a very strong decision.’
The MP, who will retire at the next federal election, argued the granting of the visa did not come down to the government but rather ‘the person who processed Novak (and) possibly made an error late at night’.