Scott Morrison has foolishly made a martyr out of Novak Djokovic

Scott Morrison has foolishly made a martyr out of Novak Djokovic. By Sean O’Grady.

“Rules are rules,” the prime minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, declared the other day, with all the bluff determination of a politician who knows he is presiding over a god awful mess of global proportions.

He seems a proud man, and, more important, a man behind in the opinion polls with a general election to win, and he is anxious to show how tough he can be, even with international sporting megastars from small European nations. “No special cases,” says Morrison, but it is apparent to everyone now that Novak Djokovic, because of his fame, is the one receiving especially unfavourable treatment. So unfair, indeed, that a judge has set him free.

Now there are rumours Djokovic is to be arrested and, presumably, deported, an act that seems highly arbitrary and lacking due process and natural justice. It shouldn’t be meted out to anyone, celebrity or not. …

Even now with the eyes of the world on the Australian Open, and for all the wrong reasons, it isn’t clear who issued Novak Djokovic with his visa; and what, if any, his “exemption” from vaccination rules amounted to. …

So we are where we are, the whole panto culminating in the bizarre sight of Nigel Farage making a mercy dash to the Djokovic family home in Serbia, and generally acting like a cross between Mother Theresa and Henry Kissinger. …

It looks very much as though Djokovic didn’t break any rules and certainly not intentionally, but was guided by the tennis authorities whom he assumed were, as usual, sorting everything out for him nicely. Seems not. …

Somehow Morrison is turning an antivaxxer into a hero, a martyr even. So, even if he never gets to swing his racquet, Djokovic will return from Australia a winner.

hat-tip Stephen Neil