Novak Djokovic will be immediately released from immigration detention in Australia, after the federal circuit court ordered a decision to cancel his visa be quashed.
But the Australian government’s counsel, Christopher Tran, has revealed the immigration minister will consider exercising a personal power to cancel Djokovic’s visa meaning he is not guaranteed to stay and compete in the Australian Open.
The decision now under consideration to cancel Djokovic’s visa anew would result in him being excluded from Australia for three years – significantly upping the stakes in a bizarre border stoush that threatens Djokovic’s quest to win the most grand slam singles titles of all time.
After a lengthy adjournment on Monday the judge Anthony Kelly read a consent minute agreed between the world No 1 male tennis player and the home affairs minister, Karen Andrews.
Djokovic, after being temporarily released from immigration detention earlier on Monday to attend the remote hearing, was present off-screen as Kelly ordered the visa cancellation decision be quashed and costs awarded in his favour.
After the decision is quashed, Djokovic must be released from detention within 30 minutes with his passport and personal effects be returned to him.
Kelly said it was “unreasonable” for Australian Border Force officials to interview Djokovic on Thursday morning and cancel his visa in circumstances where they had agreed to give him until 8.30am to speak to officials and respond to the proposed visa cancellation.
Tran informed the court that another minister of the Australian government – the immigration minister, Alex Hawke – would consider exercising a personal power to cancel Djokovic’s visa.
Kelly praised his candour. He questioned if such a power was exercised whether Djokovic would be removed from Australia and unable to return for three years, which Tran confirmed.
“The stakes have now risen rather than receded,” the judge said.
“I cannot purport to encroach on the valid exercise of a minister of executive power.”
Kelly noted the personal cancellation could be appealed and warned he expected to be “fully informed in advance” if such a decision was taken.