, February 06, 2023

Transcript of No Vax Djokovic interview shows the plight of immigrants and refugees

  •   5 min reads
Transcript of No Vax Djokovic interview shows the plight of immigrants and refugees

A transcript of the interviews between Novak Djokovic and Australian officials highlights the challenges faced by immigrants and refugees.

As Stan Lee used to say: “With great power comes great responsibility.” As one of the most famous men on the planet Novak Djokovic has enormous influence, and with that comes responsibility. I loath his position on the vaccine — evidence to support the vaccine is enormous. As this report states: “COVID-19 hospitalization rates among 35-64 year-old individuals are 14 times higher in the unvaccinated population than in the fully vaccinated population.”

Promoting an anti-vaccine agenda is irresponsible.

But when you drill down, as ever with these things, you find reality is nuanced. I think Djokovic is wrong to take the stance he has taken on the vaccine, but as far as his visit to Australia is concerned; he just followed advice.

This transcript of interviews between Australian officials and Djokovic is telling.

My favourite part is when a new interviewer enters the room, who had apparently not been briefed.

“Is that…?”

To which came the reply: “yes.”

What did come across from the transcript is that not only did Djokovic think he had not broken any rules, he had good reasons for this.  Both Tennis Australia and the State of Victoria had said he met the criteria for admission. For his part, Djokovic just followed advice.

The issue related to state authorities is perhaps the biggest problem of all, and seems to be one of complexity.

Detained in the early hours, Djokovic had no one he could call, no one he could turn to for advice. He was subjected to questioning that seemed designed to bamboozle him, trick him into saying something wrong.

Remember, this is Novak Djokovic. Imagine how tough it must be for Noone Famousovic and his friend Noone Richovic.

Reading the transcript, I felt sorry for him — that feeling of exasperation. It is quite ironic that one of the men who leaps to Djokovic’s support is Nigel Farage. Covid/lockdown cynics and immigration/refugee sympathisers become united — not that either groups see it that way.

To some, the transcript of the interview just highlights the feeling of desperation and hopelessness that immigrants and refugees must feel. To others, it highlights the often nonsensical nature of Covid restrictions.

Djokovic’s family didn’t help with their choice of words, saying he had been detained in filthy conditions used for immigrants. Let’s just assume it was poorly worded, and the tennis player’s brother who made the comment didn’t mean what it sounded like. But frankly, it reminds one of the infamous “No dogs, no ‘whatever’, no Irish comment.”  Djokovic treated no better than an immigrant or dog or an Irishman.

Here is an extract from the interview.

INTERVIEWER: The interview is being recommenced at 3.55am. Now, Novak based on the information you have provided us [inaudible] that can be of assistance, I am just going to issue you a notice of intention to consider cancellation of your visa. So I’m just going to read out all the information.

DJOKOVIC: I don’t understand, you’re cancelling my visa, or?

INTERVEWER: This is a notice of intention to consider cancellation under s 116 of the Migration Act 1958. So once I serve this notice to you - -


INTERVIEWER: - - - I will give you like, you know, 20 minutes -- or whatever if you need more time you can request that -- and you need to provide us reasons why we shouldn’t cancel the visa.

DJOKOVIC: I mean, I am really failing to understand what else do you want me to provide to you. I have provided all the documents that Tennis Australia and Victorian government has asked me to do in the last three/four weeks, this is what we have been doing. My agent and I have been in a constant communication through my agent with Tennis Australia and Victorian state government, the medical panel - - -


DJOKOVIC: - - - They -- whatever they asked us to do -- this is their set of rules that they have provided - - -


DJOKOVIC: - - - so they have allowed to have the medical exemption for the Covid vaccination. I applied, they approved, I just really don’t know what else do you want me to say. What – I just – I have nothing else – I arrived here because of these documents otherwise I wouldn’t have been allowed to come in. I just really don’t understand what is the reason you don’t allow me to enter your country – just I mean, I have been waiting four hours and I still fail to, to understand what’s the main reason – like – lack of what papers? Lack of what information do you need? Or?

INTERVIEWER: Ah yep, so I am just going to read out all of the information to you and I’m going to give you a copy of this as well. So everything is in there. But yeah, I have to go through this process and then the explanation you have given me, I mean, you can give it to me after the timeframe which we give you. The 20 minutes we have to give you.

DJOKOVIC: So you’re giving me legally 20 minutes to try to provide additional information that I don’t have? At 4 o clock in the morning? I mean you kind of put me in a very awkward position where at 4 in the morning I can’t call director of Tennis Australia, I can’t engage with anybody from the Victorian state government through Tennis Australia. I just you put me in a very uncomfortable position. I don’t know what else can I tell you. I mean I-I-I-I everything that that they -- I was asked to do is here.


DJOKOVIC: And I wouldn’t be here sitting in front of you if I if I wasn’t complying to all the rules and regulations set by your government. So I just -- I don’t know what I I mean -- to me it is a little bit shocking that you are have -- that you are going to give me the notice to cancel my visa based on what?

INTERVIEWER: Notice -- a notice to consider -- like, you know, this is [inaudible] ---

DJOKOVIC: Yes but you’re telling me. You know, basically you’re putting me in a position where what what I can do, what is my answer to that? You’re giving me 20 minutes to do what? I I tell you right away I have nothing else to tell you. If you can, we wait for 8 in the morning and then I can call Tennis Australia and then we can try and figure this out. But right now? They’re all sleepy, I don’t know. I mean I just arrived at 1am, I don’t know what else I can do at this moment. So I really, I know legally you’re following -- but it just doesn’t make any sense. I mean I have done everything I possibly can. Right now I can call my agent. You -- you told me not to use my phone, so I’m not communicating with anybody, no one knows what’s going on - - -


DJOKOVIC: - - - We did everything we possibly can and just I really don’t know what else I can tell you in this 20 minutes.

INTERVIEWER: Yep ok, so do you think this is not the right time to participate in the interview? And you would be participating in an interview at a later stage? Is 35 that --

DJOKOVIC: But I really -- ok -- so I really need to understand - - -


DJOKOVIC: - - - from you because you’ve been giving me very vague answers, or literally no answers at all, for the last four hours. I mean I have been here with, three times, we we we we suspended the interview, we recommencing, and now you are coming back with the consideration to cancel my visa - - -


DJOKOVIC: - - - the intention to consider to cancel, which I don’t really understand what it means.


Sounds like every episode of Australian Border Control has been leading up to this crescendo of ignorance between a group of people who have no idea what is going going to do next. At least you won the ashes Aussie!

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