Name? Scott Morrison
Westphalian identity? Australian
Why is he in the news? Australia is hosting the Australian Open next week and Scott Morrison, defender of one of the strictest Covid-19 travel restrictions, caused an international incident over it. Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic was detained by migration officers on Morrison’s behalf over an unclear Covid vaccination medical exemption. His detainment in an immigration detention hotel and potential deportation sparked outrage among international tennis fans and Serbians. This morning, a court overruled Morrison’s decision, freeing Djokovic and allowing him to compete.
Why do we care? Morrison’s strict border controls during the pandemic separated families, preventing Australians living overseas from returning home. So when Djokovic’s unclear Covid status sparked outrage at home, it prompted Morrison’s decision which could help him win his upcoming reelection (approval numbers are low). In 2001, another PM, John Howard, responded to Indonesian migrants arriving to Australia via boat by detaining them with the statement “we will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come”, which gave him the election win.
Why should you care? Because 2022 continues to deliver very “interesting” developments in the world of international relations. A tennis player causing an international dispute between two sovereign countries, what else is to come? You should care 1/10.
Who else cares? Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vučić. According to himself, he immediately called the national hero and expressed his support in the name of all Serbians. He stepped out stating that “Serbia will fight for justice and truth”. Furthermore, he called Djokovic the “Spartacus of a new world that does not tolerate injustice, colonialism and hypocrisy”. Very intense words against Morrison who is probably just using them to campaign further.
Any further comments? At least this incident sheds some light on Australia’s immigration detention hotel for asylum seekers and refugees. Djokovic stayed there for 4 days, some migrants have been stuck there for years …