Australia news live: Djokovic trains on centre court as supporters take to Melbourne streets; Morrison government yet to decide on visa cancellation

LIVE – Updated at 20:53

© Photograph: James Ross/EPA
Members of the Serbian community marched in support of Novak Djokovic after his release from immigration detention in Melbourne.

Follow all the day’s news live.


There is mixed messaging emerging this morning on whether immigration minister Alex Hawke should intervene and cancel Novak Djokovic’s visa for a second time.

Federal government MP and former professional tennis player John Alexander says his visa should not be cancelled again in the wake of the court’s decision:

I see it as something that should not become a political problem. It is not political at this point…the rules regarding visa applications and approvals are quite clear, they’re complex, but they are clear, and the judge has looked at this obviously very, very carefully and he has made a very strong decision.

Others disagree. In an opinion piece for the Sydney Morning Herald, Deakin University epidemiologist Hassan Valley said cancelling his visa would send a “strong message” that rules apply to everyone equally:

So, as one of the most privileged human beings on the planet who has ignored the science and refused to be vaccinated I think an incredibly strong message could have been sent by upholding Djokovic’s visa cancellation. The message being that the rules apply to everyone equally.

Immigration lawyer Simon Jeans told Sunrise this morning the right decision was made in court:

The judge was very critical of the way Novak Djokovic was treated while he was at the airport, the way he was interviewed, the way he was not given an opportunity to talk with his lawyers before they made a decision and that they had taken his phone away and he was not able to contact anyone.

The process that was conducted in the airport was at fault. There were mistakes made in that process and there were mistakes made in the decision, so the judge was quite critical of how he was treated and that became quite obvious, if you like. The judge applied the blowtorch to the minister and the minister took the hint and conceded the case before a judgement was made.


New guidelines being considered by national cabinet will see a return of fruit and vegetables to the supermarket shelves within the week, AAP reports.

Supermarkets have been overwhelmed by panic-buying just as transport and logistics companies and suppliers are hit by large proportions of workers calling in sick or dealing with tough Covid-19 quarantine rules.

Australian Fresh Produce Alliance chief executive Michael Rogers had warned that fruit and vegetables could rot in the fields because of the supply chain issues and a shortage of workers.

Guidelines issued by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee have changed the definition of close contacts for those exposed to Covid-19 working in critical food and grocery production, manufacturing, logistics and distribution facilities.


The measures that change requirements for close contacts which have been announced are very welcome because they put capacity back in the system, but it’s still going to be a very tight situation.

The decision by Queensland, NSW and Victoria will put fruit and veg back on shelves in those states, the national guidelines go a long way to a nationally consistent approach. Other states won’t see disruption to supply in the same way as it’s been seen in Sydney.

It is expected supermarket shelves will begin to fill over the next week.

The national cabinet is set to discuss the guidelines on Thursday but the prime minister wants action before then. Morrison said governments were determined to minimise the impact of the Omicron strain of Covid-19 on the workforce.

Close contacts who test negative but are asymptomatic will be able to continue to work, but be monitored using rapid antigen tests. The rules won’t apply to frontline retail workers such as supermarket checkout operators.

Related: Australian food producers hit by Covid staff shortages welcome isolation rule changes


Amid supply chain and staff shortages, Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Sally McManus has written to prime minister Scott Morrison overnight calling for an urgent meeting to discuss the impact of Omicron on exhausted essential workers.

In a statement, she said:

The prime minister has not heard from working people and we are on the front lines. Australian workers are not ok at the moment. We have never had so many working people sick at once. Healthcare workers are exhausted, people are anxious and uncertain.

The unions’ list of demands includes restoring pandemic leave for close contacts of infected colleagues, free rapid antigen tests and priority for frontline workers until supply issues are resolved, and mandating N95 or P2 standard masks.


Many are losing pay while sick as they have no sick leave. Others are losing hours and their jobs as businesses close or cut back in what is turning into an unofficial lockdown.

Good morning

Good morning,

We’re 11 days into the year, Novak Djokovic is still in the country, and I am back to knowing what day of the week it is.

Caitlin Cassidy here to guide you through this morning’s news, and all eyes are on the Serbian tennis player, who yesterday won an appeal against his visa cancellation after spending four days in an immigration detention centre.

A wild 24 hours saw ecstatic Djokovic’s fans pepper-sprayed by police as they celebrated his release in Melbourne. But the victory comes with the threat that immigration minister Alex Hawke may revoke his entry visa for a second time, using powers granted by Australia’s Migration Act. Djokovic said he was “pleased” and “grateful” for the ruling, and was still determined to stay and compete at the Australian Open.

Meanwhile, Australia is still in a pandemic and passed the grim milestone of 1m active Covid-19 cases yesterday. There have been 250,000 Covid cases since Friday alone.

There were a record 18 deaths in NSW yesterday, as Nine newspapers flag the state government is set to mandate the registration of positive rapid antigen tests.

With public hospitals under increased pressure, the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association is calling on the commonwealth to increase resources in the aged care sector as a matter of urgency, citing a “staffing crisis” and lack of equipment including correct masks and RATs.

There’s much to get through, so let’s dive in.


McManus appeared on ABC News this morning, discussing the Unions’ list of demands to the federal government.

She said changing the definition of a “close contact” to someone who has spent four hours in a household with a confirmed Covid case was “really crazy”:

Working people might be spending eight hours with someone who is Covid-positive and they are no longer considered a close contact…those people who have worked next to someone for a really long time and aren’t included in that definition of “close contact” no longer get isolation payments. So if you run out of sick leave or if you never had any in the first place, it means you are stuck with nothing during that period of time. So this is, I hope, just an oversight, but an oversight the prime minister has made and it has got to be fixed.

We are told to live with the virus, but the idea was not for everyone to get sick at once and this is what has happened unfortunately. Health care workers, whether they be ambos or whether they be in the emergency departments, or in the hospitals are absolutely exhausted, absolutely exhausted. It is mayhem for them and extremely stressful. And it is very, very anxious time for people who are sick.

I’ve never seen so many sick people not knowing whether or not they need to go to hospital or not. We really just need to know that the prime minister actually understand the depth of this crisis and the burden that is being placed on us, on front-line workers, both a financial one for people now losing their jobs – it is like an unofficial lockdown – a lot of people are – it is a psychological one and also obviously a physical one for everyone who is getting sick.

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