Australia live news updates: Alex Hawke argues Novak Djokovic a ‘talisman’ of anti-vaccine sentiment; Victoria reports 23 Covid deaths, NSW 20

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We are seeing an outline of the arguments in the Novak Djokovic case in the originating application from Djokovic.

The argument from immigration minister Alex Hawke accepts that Djokovic’s recent Covid-19 infection is genuine (there were questions raised about its veracity in media reports) and that he presents a negligible health risk.

But, the minister said, if allowed to stay, Djokovic could excite anti-vaccination sentiment:

Djokovic’s case argues the minister took an “illogical/irrational/unreasonable approach to … the question of public interest” and his own exercise of ministerial discretion:

For enthusiasts of tennis and federal courts – the latest documents in the Djokovic case are being placed on the public record here. Watch the serve and volley unfold.

Novak Djokovic is back in detention at Carlton’s Park Hotel, Nine News is reporting.

Nine newspapers reported a silver four-wheel drive and a white van departed the Melbourne CBD offices of Djokovic’s lawyers under police watch.

Victoria police officers closed off a section of Flinders Lane about 2.45pm before the two vehicles exited the building in front of a pack of photographers and journalists.

A man speaking on his mobile and covering his face with a cap could be spotted in the back seat of the four-wheel-drive which drove off towards William Street.

Terribly sad news from one of the most prominent expert voices throughout the pandemic.

Mary-Louise McLaws is a professor of epidemiology at the University of NSW and a World Health Organization Covid-19 adviser.

More than 1,000 people have taken to the streets of Sydney’s CBD as part of an anti-vaccination rally.

The ABC reported the peaceful demonstration caused traffic disruption as protesters made their way through the city to Hyde Park, some carrying Serbian flags, in a reference to the treatment of the world No 1 tennis player, Novak Djokovic. Others chanted slogans against children receiving Covid-19 vaccinations.

A large-scale search is continuing for a nine-year-old girl who has been missing in the New South Wales Blue Mountains since Thursday, AAP reports.

Police were alerted to Charlise Mutten’s absence on Friday morning.

They say she was last seen by her parents at a property at Mount Wilson, 60km north-west of Richmond.

More than a hundred police and emergency personnel are involved in the search.

My colleague Ben Doherty’s story about this morning’s developments in the Novak Djokovic case is now live.

Djokovic faces a federal court hearing Sunday morning, Australia time, which will determine whether the immigration minister, Alex Hawke, minister acted unreasonably in rescinding his visa.

Documents filed in the court reveal the minister’s reasons sent to Djokovic as justification for cancelling his visa.

Hawke said he accepted Djokovic’s recent Covid-19 infection meant he was a “negligible risk to those around him”, but that he was “perceived by some as a talisman of a community of anti-vaccine sentiment”.

You can read the full story here:

The Northern Territory has recorded its second death of the pandemic, a 40-year-old woman from the Bagot Aboriginal community in Darwin.

The NT’s deputy chief minister, Nicole Manison, said the woman was fully vaccinated and had underlying health issues.

The territory recorded 412 new cases and there are 32 people in hospital, none in intensive care.

And with that, I’m off! Lisa Cox is going to see you through the afternoon – come what may.

Here’s a little sneak peek at the piece Ben Doherty is about to publish on the whole Novak Djokovic palaver.

Australia’s immigration minister, Alex Hawke, has said that Djokovic was “perceived by some as a talisman of a community of anti-vaccine sentiment”.

Quite neatly put, really.


Australia has hit a 95% vaccination rate – only for first doses, and only in those over 16, Lisa Cox reports.

The federal health minister, Greg Hunt, today also said a decision on the Novavax Covid vaccine – which is not yet available in Australia – was expected by the Therapeutic Goods Administration “in the coming 10 days”.

(That’s the one termed “Never-vax”, which was due last year).

Australia’s top male tennis player, Alex de Minaur, is done with Novak Djokovic. AAP reports he said:

According to Austrac, “as legitimate use of cryptocurrency increases, we’re seeing a sort of comparable increase in abuse”. Ben Butler reports:

Four people have died with Covid in South Australia and 4,349 new cases were recorded in the 24 hours to midnight last night.

The South Australian premier, Steven Marshall, said 3,107 of those results were from PCR tests.

There are 236 people in hospital, and 26 in intensive care.

There’s a lot to be said for shopping local, if you can.

To another protest. The Palmer United MP, Craig Kelly, who’s been criticised for spreading “misleading” vaccine information, is out and about in Sydney. Pictured here maskless with some fans, one of whom is wearing a chin protector.

An update from Canberra, where police are bracing for that “sovereign citizen” protest – so far, protestors have failed to show up, after they threatened to “take Old Parliament House”. AAP reports there is a video on social media of people planning to turn up at a park. One speaker said:

There’s an interesting line in immigration minister Alex Hawke’s reasons for cancelling Novak Djokovic’s visa: