Many people will have seen numerous video clips on Youtube in which a litter of puppies following their human around in a group and when the human is caught, jumping all over them, licking them and wagging their tails furiously1,2. They are adorable videos and they cannot but make you smile.

However, these do remind me of the Australian media, with Morrison as the human (a big ask, I know), and the media as the puppies. They follow him wherever he wants them to run. Such was the case with the Novak Djokovic saga. As Covid-19 infections are increasing at an alarming rate (now officially about 100,000 per day), especially in New South Wales, Morrison jumped on the granting of a visa to Djokovic, to create a distraction from this alarming spread. It is just another ‘dead cat’, a tactic in which Morrison specialises and which I have written about before3.

Of course, Tennis Australia, who presumably want as many top players to show up for the Australian Open tennis tournament, would really like Novak Djokovic to play in the tournament, as it is the top players who are reputed to attract the crowds and therefore the cash. I presume Djokovic would like to play because he would be in with a good chance of winning the men’s singles title, putting him ahead of Federer and Nadal, who, with Djokovic, each have 20 men’s Grand Slam singles titles4.

Tennis Australia (TA) stipulated that all participants at the Australian Open must be vaccinated against the coronavirus or have a medical exemption granted by an independent panel of experts. TA said Djokovic had applied for such a medical exemption which was granted after a “rigorous review process” involving two separate independent panels of medical experts. One of those was the Independent Medical Exemption Review Panel appointed by the Victorian Department of Health, and they assess all applications to see if they meet the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) guidelines.”

It added that the process included the redaction of personal information from applications to ensure privacy for all applicants and fairness in the review process5.

The Victorian state government on Friday said it had not seen correspondence between the federal government and TA in late November that apparently stipulated unvaccinated players could not enter the country on the basis they had previously been infected with Covid-196. It is suspected that Djokovic was granted an exemption to play at the Australian Open based on his having contracted Covid-19 (which he did in May 2020). For this exemption to be allowed, he must have contracted Covid-19 in the last six months, which he seemingly hasn’t, unless of course he has suffered a re-infection7.

Home Affairs Minister, Karen Andrews, said on Friday that other international players and officials who had already been allowed into the country on a similar vaccine exemption to Djokovic were being investigated by border force officials7.

Djokovic obtained a visa to enter Australia, a visa issued by the commonwealth government. However, when he arrived on Wednesday evening he was detained by Border Force after failing to provide “appropriate evidence” of the exemption. Given that the exemption was provided by a couple of medical panels in Australia and the visa was issued by Australia, surely the evidence has already been presented and assessed in Australia8.

One can only suspect that this shemozzle was an opportunity for Morrison to fling another dead cat at the media, which would act as a distraction from the disastrous spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 in all states and territories except Western Australia. At the time of writing, it has just been announced that NSW has recorded over 45,000 daily cases9.

Of course, the media immediately followed Morrison’s lead, as we all know that a tennis-player’s visa is much more important than a rampant pandemic which is killing up to 20 Australians a day.

Perhaps the greatest disappointment engendered by the media response to this dead cat is that they allowed Morrison to get away with lying that ‘nobody is above Australia’s border rules’, which he said had proven vital in the country’s low death toll throughout the pandemic. He also said that Djokovic was unable to provide acceptable explanation for why he is not fully vaccinated and that: “Rules are rules … Entry with a visa requires double vaccination, or a medical exemption. I am advised that such an exemption was not in place, and as a result he is subject to the same rule as anyone else”10.

It is clear that Morrison’s ‘nobody is above Australia’s border rules’ is another of his constant lies. Billionaire Kerry Stokes was given a ‘medical exemption’ after flying back from the Aspen ski fields in Colorado, allowing him to avoid mandatory hotel quarantine on their arrival, ensconcing himself in his Perth mansion for the requisite time. This was despite there being a Covid-19 outbreak in Aspen at the time11. If you have enough money or a media empire, it seems you can avoid the rules. It costs over $100,000 to do so; that is small change for some12

Djokovic is an idiot who will seemingly believe anything to do with ‘wellbeing’ pseudoscience, including that positive thought could cleanse polluted water in stating “scientists have proven that molecules in water react to our emotions”, and that he felt weaker while holding a slice of bread indicating he was gluten intolerant. He has also stated that he was “opposed to vaccination”13.

However, you will likely not hear Morrison pointing out Djokovic’s anti-vaccination and pseudoscience idiocy. This is because he will be depending on antivaxxers’ votes in the upcoming election, and is why he will have preference agreements with antivaxxers like the United Australia Party (UAP), whose leader, Craig Kelly is a prominent antivaxxer and climate change denier14. This will be like the agreement the Liberal Party signed with the UAP before the 2019 election15.

Djokovic had the misfortune to arrive in Australia while Morrison was hunting around for another dead cat that could make him look ‘strong on borders’ rather than hopeless at managing the pandemic. And the media puppies followed.

Sources

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Igz7hfTjD3M
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lc6db8qfZEw
  3. https://blotreport.com/2021/12/10/dead-cats-and-scott-morrison/
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Grand_Slam–related_tennis_records#Most_titles
  5. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/1/4/tennis-djokovic-medical-exemption-australian-open-covid
  6. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/jan/07/australian-open-players-given-exemptions-similar-to-novak-djokovic-under-investigation
  7. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-01-05/how-did-novak-djokovic-get-covid-vaccination-exemption/100738684
  8. https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/7571860/pm-declares-rules-are-rules-as-djokovic-set-for-deportation/
  9. https://www.covid19data.com.au/
  10. https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/7571860/pm-declares-rules-are-rules-as-djokovic-set-for-deportation/
  11. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/apr/23/kerry-stokes-near-aspen-colorado-quarantine-exemption-private-jet-perth
  12. https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/coronavirus/2021/03/21/hotel-quarantine-celebrities/
  13. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-59897918
  14. https://www.crikey.com.au/2021/10/12/craig-kelly-clive-palmer-and-reignite-democracy-anti-vaxx/
  15. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-04-25/federal-election-liberals-strike-preferences-deal-clive-palmer/11046512

20 Comments

  • jennifer Thomas says:

    The problem with this analysis, which i otherwise strongly agree with, is the huge outrage felt and expressed by vaccinated Australians, at a time of Omicron panic, that this arsehole could so flagrantly violate what appeared to be the requirements for everyone else. Morrison simply jumped on a bandwagon that was already careering down a mountain.

    • Arthur Baker says:

      Jennifer, I agree. But as an excellent letter in today’s Sydney Morning Herald points out, Morrison’s declaration that “rules are rules and there are no special cases” is disingenuous to say the least. The correspondent writes: “Tell that to the ordinary people who tried to get an exemption to leave the country to see dying relatives and were refused, while seeing a conga line of celebrities and other “special cases” enter and leave Australia in the past two years.”

      The “arsehole” Djokovic (I agree with that description too) would have been watching during the last two years and would be pretty sure he’d get a visa even if it was a “flagrant violation”. So he was always going to apply. The question is, did Morrison and his government deliberately set him up or not? Morrison has already proven he doesn’t care who he upsets, internationally. And even if the set-up is trivially transparent, it serves his purpose marvellously because he’ll be seen as Mr Tough Guy “protecting Australians”.

      I have no regard at all for Djokovic other than his evident and undeniable playing skill, but it does look like he may have been deliberately set up by Morrison for marketing purposes. And there’s only one thing Morrison habitually markets: himself.

    • admin says:

      Jennifer,
      I don’t deny that; the suspicion that Djokovic had received favourable treatment, and the outrage that followed it, just provided a safer bet for Morrison’s opportunism. Everything Morrison does is solely for his benefit. There are no other considerations…ever.

  • Arthur Baker says:

    Morrison is so full of crap, congratulating Australian Border Force for “doing its job”. ABF is precisely the agency (federal, under Morrison’s authority) which DIDN’T do its job. One of ABF’s briefs is to prevent people whose paperwork is out of order from boarding planes overseas. That’s why ABF officers work in every overseas airport whence direct flights depart for Australia. They advise airline check-in staff when aspiring boarders’ paperwork isn’t kosher.

    When my wife and I visited Europe in 2016 we landed in Paris, picked up a French car and, a few days later, drove to Calais. In order to board the ferry to Dover, we had to get past a BRITISH customs post on French soil, staffed by BRITISH officials (Scottish, ours was, and a right little stickler, I can tell you). Fail to satisfy him that your paperwork’s OK, you get turned around and you don’t get on the ferry. This avoids the messy alternative of working out what to do with rejects at Dover. (What happens now, post-Brexit, I don’t have a clue, but it was an efficient arrangement back then.)

    That’s the way to do it. But Scott “Keeping Australians safe” Morrison prefers the messy alternative. Let them board, holding their Australian visa, believing (justifiably) they have every right to land in and enter Australia, then messily and officiously sort out any discrepancies in their supporting paperwork when they arrive, at midnight, in Melbourne. Then do a photo-op (his 83rd this week?) and blather that you’ve “solved” an international stuff-up which your government ministers and departments caused.

    And one inevitably wonders if the whole fiasco was deliberately planned as a dead cat – issue the visa even if you know the dickhead Djokovic’s reasons for application are crook, let him board the plane regardless even if you know his paperwork won’t stand scrutiny on arrival, and generate a media shemozzle which your puppies will drool over for a week or more to distract attention from pandemic management failure. It’s highly transparent to anyone with half a brain, but many will fall for it.

    At least it’s drawn a little attention to some refugee occupants of the detention hotel the idiotic prima donna’s locked up in. Some of those poor sods have been locked up for eight years or more.

    • admin says:

      Arthur,
      I toyed with the possibility that this was a Morrison ploy from the beginning, but I thought it was too much of a stretch. Morrison does announcements of plans rather than plans themselves.

      • Arthur Baker says:

        Surely if he (or his staff) planned this one as a set-up, he wouldn’t want to announce it or it would blow the whole show. I’m still betting, on balance, that he planned the entrapment of Djokovic all along. The visa was the unrefusable lure (Djoko wants the Aussie Open for his record-breaking 21st major), and there would have been a quiet directive to ABF to back off and let him through whichever airport he took off from. Just get him to turn up, then give him heaps, midnight interrogation, incarceration in some dismal refugee gulag substitute, possible ignominious deportation for a guy known for his whackjob beliefs, generating huge kudos for Morrison The Big Aussie Protector and Tough Guy. Not that I’m into conspiracy theories, mind you, but with a devious bugger like Morrison, hey, come on, it’s got his mark all over it.

        • admin says:

          Arthur,
          Based on what I have heard (unconfirmed yet), Morrison might look a dill in the court case. The government has already been denied a 3-day delay in the case. It might just be another Morrison cockup.

          • Jennifer Thomas says:

            Remember, whenever you are considering the possibility of malevolence or conspiracy with this Government, that bumbling incompetence is always the most likely.

          • Jennifer Thomas says:

            PS not that malevolence and conspiracy are not also on the cards!

          • admin says:

            Jennifer,
            Morrison has that in spades. Everything he touches turns to ordure. It is only the media that props him up.

  • Russell says:

    The self-serving pompous refusal to allow top world tennis player Craig Ke…..sorry, Djokovic, to stay for the Australian Open is so transparently a ploy by the Grand Poobah. As to whether he actually planned to allow the visa, and on the guy’s arrival start a fuss over him not being vaxxed, well…But with Scummo one has to believe anything’s possible, as long as it involves brazen hypocrisy and immorality. The anti-vaxxers will be so pleased if ND gets his way with the law, and doubtless will promote their cause using his whacky views.

    This country is now run such that Thomas Pynchon or Kurt Vonnegut ( if they were still writing) could have material enough for four new novels about oddity, shoddity, inanity and insanity, among leading politicians, their minions and yes-men.

    • admin says:

      Russell,
      Some seemingly interesting stuff coming out now. It looks like Djokovic may have a second dose of Covid-19 last month, which would put him within the window of being allowed to enter the country. The court case might be very interesting.

  • Warren says:

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/sep/06/scott-morrison-granted-covid-lockdown-exemption-to-visit-sydney-for-fathers-day-weekend

    I remind readers of the above article. Rules are rules!!

    Djokovic has some very strange views on vaccinations, etc. But I actually feel sorry for the Joker, and I hope he wins in court. Oz has stuffed up. ABF stuffed up. Again. Was it deliberate? The court case may be interesting?

  • Warren says:

    Anyway the Joker should have entered Oz through NSW on the Ruby Princess. Not a problem.

  • Jon says:

    The notion that the Djokovic saga was a planned conspiracy to make Morrison look good is 100/1. Neither he nor any of his entourage has the IQ to think up such a scheme, although the fact that Hunt, Dutton, Andrews all had different versions of the rules is par for the course for this pack of corrupt, deceitful and incompetent dullards.

    Not sure which mob is more incompetent in this matter – Tennis Australia or the Morrison govt. TA made a GIANT error believing that the feds would be consistent and that anyone would swallow the second covid infection bs. The Vic govt knew what might unfold and rightly said all along they wouldn’t be providing exemptions, even after Morrison tried to hive off responsibility a month ago.
    ———————————————————–
    This might brighten the day for a few: https://smartenergy.org.au/election-stickers/
    Personally I wouldn’t allow the visages of those two turds to be displayed anywhere near my property. Even the inside of a bin with all the other rotten garbage would be too good for them. Dunny paper would be more apt, but same applies as far as I’m concerned. On the odd chance that they both get the arse at the next election I WOULD consider displaying a large cartoon showing the Australian public giving them both the right royal boot, or maybe God with a flamethrower scorching their nether regions as he despatches them to the eternal flames of Hell, joining similarly deserved illuminaries like (add your own names here, list of possibles is far too long).

    • admin says:

      Jon,
      Love the bin stickers.

      • Allan says:

        “Rules are rules”except for the frenzied dancing by hundreds of young devotees of the Hillsong evangelical group

        • admin says:

          Allan,
          Of course the religious must have their privileges, for they are better than us of the hoi polloi. The religious must have their privileges as well as their bigotries. There are myriad cases of people being fined for hosting parties during the pandemic when they are prohibited from doing so. They obviously were not shrewd enough to do it under the auspices of Hillsong. If they had, they’d be in the clear.

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