Novak Djokovic saga shows legal system fails to protect citizens from bureaucrats

Novak Djokovic saga shows legal system fails to protect citizens from bureaucrats. By Robert Gottliebsen.

As a result of the “Djokovic Affair”, basic flaws in the ability of the Australian legal system to protect citizens are now on display around the world.

Those flaws which embrace both entry into the nation and its tax collection system will adversely impact Australia until they are remedied. …

Bureaucrats above the law:

I am confining my border force comments to the statements by the public servants under Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews that they believed they have the power ignore the decisions of our Federal Court — i.e. they are above the law of Australia.

Accordingly they announced, prior to the court hearing, that in the event that the government lost its case, it could again cancel the Djokovic visa and the world number one tennis player could face more detention or be forced to leave even though he might win his case.

I can’t think other more nation damaging statement to be put on the world stage.

Likewise tax:

The nation has known for a long time that the Australian Tax office was above the law and periodically over the last 28 years politicians on both sides have demanded a proper set of legislated rules — usually along US lines. But at every attempt the politicians have buckled to the power of the public service.

It’s ironic that Karen Andrews was the Industry, Science and Technology Minister at a time when the department’s morale was hit hard when the all powerful Australian Taxation Office demanded the return of Australian research grants awarded by her department.

The ATO attack did not take place until after the money was spent by some of our top researchers, so outrageously the ATO added penalties and interest. The ATO was able to cut a swath through top Australian research and only now is the nation beginning to recover. …

Why this matters, more than just domestically:

Overseas companies will be very reluctant to expand in Australia now they know we have chaotic border rules and a Home Affairs department that believes it is above the law.

Australia sees itself as a place for world sporting events. The “Djokovic Affair” has shown the world that we are very dangerous place to have global sporting events because of the chaos in our border control rules and the lack of legal certainty.

Overseas companies will also want clear rules on taxation and not have go to the Federal High Court for justice. The Morrison government had plans to introduce a legislated code of tax conduct similar to the US but it failed to carry them out.

With justification we complain in the region about some of the Chinese actions. But now our basic legal flaws have become a world event.

Before we resume campaigning on the world stage about the defects of others we need to fix our own mess with proper tax and border force rules.

Our bureaucracy is too big for its own boots. And not as competent as it used to be.