Flat White

Minister Hawke’s bizarre reasoning spells doom for Morrison

17 January 2022

12:00 PM

17 January 2022

12:00 PM

I read with mounting alarm and incredulity Minister Hawke’s 71 paragraphs of reasoning on January 14, 2022 to the Federal Circuit and Family Court for cancelling the visa issued on November 18, 2021 to Novak Djokovic.

(Paragraph references below are to the Minister’s document.)

Mr Hawke acknowledges that Mr Djokovic had not only been previously infected with Covid in June 2020, but also returned a positive PCR test in December 2021 and a positive ‘SARS-Cov-2 RBD lgG test’ [para 10]. Although the Minister does not explain it, this last test identifies antigens that show an adaptive immune system response against Covid.

The Minister confirms that Mr Djokovic provided a substantial volume of journal articles, medical studies, and medical evidence to show that he poses as low a risk as, or a lower risk than, any vaccinated entrant to Australia. Importantly, Mr Hawke also ‘assumes’ in the time available that Mr Djokovic has a medical reason for not being vaccinated’ [para14]. He also ‘assumes’ Mr Djokovic entered Australia consistently with ATAGI documents [para 15] and believed (on the Tennis Australia evidence of an Independent Expert Medical Review Panel) that he had a valid medical exemption to come to Australia [para 16].

The Commonwealth’s ‘Health Advice’ to the Minister was that Mr Djokovic is ‘a low risk of transmitting Covid to others’ and that ‘the risk of a transmission event related to the Australian open is very low’ [para 12]. Consider, for a moment, the implausibility of that ranking of the two risks!

Amazingly, the Minister admits [para 13] that he has not sought or read the actual medical material that Mr Djokovic provided to him, ‘because I am not medically trained. Nor am I sure if the Health Advice from the Commonwealth Department of Health and the Chief Medical Officer [cited above] was given aware of the various medical material relied on by Mr Djokovic.’

The Minister notes two claimed overseas breaches of Covid restrictions by Mr Djokovic [paras 23, 26], but disregards the second. Nevertheless, he considers ‘Mr Djokovic has, in the past, shown an apparent disregard for the need to isolate following the receipt of a positive Covid test result’ [para 23].

The core is paragraph 18, in which the Minister says:

‘I have given consideration to the fact that Mr Djokovic is a high profile unvaccinated individual, who has indicated publicly that he is opposed to becoming vaccinated against Covid (which for convenience I refer to as “anti-vaccination”).’

This is an astonishing admission.

It has apparently become illegal, at Ministerial discretion, to enter Australia if one questions the efficacy, safety, or balance of benefits and costs of a particular vaccine against a particular illness in one’s own medical circumstances. The Minister notes (totally irrelevantly) [para20], ‘I am advised by the Commonwealth Department of Health (cleared by the Chief Medical Officer … that: immunisation is one of the most successful public health interventions of the past 200 years.’

So what?

As the Minister’s submission records at Attachment P, Mr Djokovic has said, ‘I am not against vaccination of any kind, because who am I to speak about vaccines when there are people that have been in the field of medicine and saving lives around the world?’ Nevertheless, the Minister comes to his patronising conclusion [para 22]:

I consider that Mr Djokovic’s presence in Australia may pose a health risk to the Australian community, in that his presence in Australia may foster anti-vaccination sentiment leading to (a) other unvaccinated persons refusing to become vaccinated, (b) other unvaccinated persons being reinforced in their existing views not to become vaccinated, and/or (c) a reduction in the uptake of booster vaccines.’

(Mandating boosters is probably the next frontier in extending vaccine mandates in Australia, despite the mounting cautions by immunologists against that course.)

The alleged risk of ‘vaccine hesitancy’ is the same reasoning given by You Tube and Twitter for cancelling immunology authorities such as Dr Robert Malone and Dr Peter McCullough. The Djokovic visa decision is cancel culture by Ministerial diktat.

This is truly postmodern Ministerial decision making: don’t examine medical evidence tendered by the person whose presence in Australia is to be terminated by the Minister’s decision; disregard the possibility that the person is behaving quite reasonably in his own medical circumstances, and is at the least entitled to exercise informed consent; acknowledge one’s inability to comprehend the medical evidence; cite irrelevant facts (that vaccination in general is a Good Thing); and then say that one’s fellow citizens cannot be allowed to be exposed to the mere presence of someone believing allegedly dangerous things that you’ve admitted you can’t understand.

Has there ever been a more disproportionate Ministerial decision to inflict serious damage on a visa holder, while patronising the electorate that pays the Minister’s salary?

Mr Hawke’s 71 paragraph tour through his bizarre reasoning must surely be the longest-ever political suicide note for a Ministerial career. Sadly, it is unlikely he is alone in the Morrison Government in his sorry morass of Covid ignorance and hysteria.

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