Novak Djokovic: Alex Hawke, Australian Emigration Minister – Tennis – Sports

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“The two greatest forces for good in all of human history are capitalism and Christianity. When they get together they are a very powerful duo,” said the liberal politician who was also a former Australian Army reservist.

The expelled person cannot re-enter Australian territory for three years. If something like this were to happen to Djokovic, world number one and winner of nine Australian Opens, the Serb would be prevented from playing in Melbourne until 2025. Then he will be 37 years old. This Friday, Hawke failed: he decided to revoke the world tennis number one visa and expel him from the country. Djokovic’s lawyers then appealed the move, seeking a last resort that would allow their client to defend the crown at the Melbourne Open…

Hawke is a kind of Frank Underwood, the House of Cards character played by Kevin Spacey. In colloquial terms, a dispatch fanatic who loves to build scenarios in his head as if he were playing TEG. He made his entire political career as a parliamentary adviser, after having been a provincial delegate and then president of the Australian Liberal Youth.

“I’m interested in influencing Australian politics for the better, in causes I believe in,” Hawke said in an interview. “Do I have to be in Congress for that? I fully understand that it is not. There’s no need. In fact, in some sense it is more fun to be outside: it gives you more power, “he confessed.

Hawke is a friend and ally of president Scott Morrison, criticized by those who think he treated Djokovic, the world’s leading racket, unfairly. Part of his electorate, on the other hand, congratulates him for having enforced Australian laws: until the omicron variant, the country had successfully overcome the different variants of the coronavirus pandemic. “The rules are the rules,” tweeted the Australian prime minister when the border police did not accept Djokovic’s visa request. And he repeated it ad nauseam in television notes. Morrison and Hawke are much more than political allies: They share a Bible study group that, according to the Australian press, has met every week since 2007.

Two years earlier, Hawke became president of the Liberal party. The current minister obtained the votes to displace the left wing from power, which had dominated the most important positions for 22 years. It was his first big hit. A program on the ABC network (Lateline) portrayed that group of liberals who had regained the presidency, and who had Hawke as their leader.

The “Young Liberals” (“Young Liberals”) were filmed singing: “We are racist, we are sexist, we are homophobic”. Asked about the value of religion in his political life, Hawke replied: “Do I inject my religion into politics? No. But my religion guides the values ​​and ethics of the things I do.”

“I’m a big believer in the ideas of God’s Grace, forgiveness, redemption and second chances,” Hawke says in a speech posted on his website. And he adds: “They are Christian values ​​that have seasoned secular culture in a way that makes it more human, and our world, more habitable.”

In another public document, Hawke defends the heterosexual family and attacks same-sex marriage. “The family is the most important institution in our society: they adopt different forms and postures. Different religions and cultures have come to the conclusion that the family is one of our pillars. Our current society in Australia is built on the institution of heterosexual marriage between a man and a woman.”

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Hawke joined the Liberal Party in 1995. That same year, as a profile of him in The Age newspaper highlights, he joined the army and became a member of the reservist squad. There he stayed until he got the rank of lieutenant, six years later. His army service certificate is framed and hangs on a wall at his Australian home, where he lives with his second wife and two children. A fan of Australian history, Hawke is a fan of the Western Sydney Wanderers team, which plays in the first division of Australian rules football.

The Djokovic case is perhaps the most high-profile that Hawke has had to solve since he became a minister. But he’s not the only one. Dozens of other immigrants live in the Park Hotel in Melbourne, where the Serbian tennis player was held until the court agreed with him, waiting for a judge to tell them whether they can stay or should be deported.

“You have seen how Australia treats us. We’re glad you were able to get out in four days, even though we’re still here after more than 3,000 days. Please tell the world what is happening to us”, was the message that a refugee, Mohammed Joy, delivered to Djokovic. He has been in prison for more than nine years.

Meanwhile, Hawke is preparing to open the borders once the pandemic is in the memory. “Australia is a very attractive destination. And the government will make more and more announcements to encourage people to come back. We miss our students, our tourists; to our temporary workforce. And we are convinced that they will return soon”, the minister hoped a few days ago. The decision he makes regarding Djokovic will be critical to that future.

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