Australian PM Accused of Double Standards on 'Anti-Vaxxer' Lawmakers Amid Djokovic Saga

© AP Photo / Darko BandicNovak Djokovic prepares to take his seat on a plane to Belgrade, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Monday, Jan. 17, 2022
Novak Djokovic prepares to take his seat on a plane to Belgrade, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Monday, Jan. 17, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 17.01.2022
World number one tennis player Novak Djokovic flew out of Australia on Sunday evening after losing a court appeal against the government’s decision to expel him from the country for not being vaccinated. The Australian government told the court that Djokovic’s presence down under could be a “health risk” and fuel anti-vaccination sentiment.
Australia’s federal opposition Labor Party has launched a blistering political attack on Prime Minister Scott Morrison for his “double standards” for keeping schtum on the stance of several MPs who have refused to get the COVID vaccine.

“Mr Morrison is claiming that his government had to cancel Novak Djokovic’s visa as it could incite anti-vaccination sentiment in Australia. Hey Mr. Morrison, why don’t you have a look at George Christensen?” Kristina Keneally, the shadow minister for Immigration and former premier of New South Wales (NSW) province, questioned on Monday. The tennis star was scheduled to participate in the Australian Open, which kicked off without him on Monday.

“Why don’t you have a look at Matt Canavan? Why don’t you have a look Senators Gerard Rennick and Alex Antic, members of your own government, out there in Australia, inciting anti-vaccination sentiment, undermining the anti-vaccination rollout,” she also pointed out.

The Labor Party wasn’t alone in attacking Morrison over the stances adopted by some of his conservative allies regarding vaccines. Several leading academics and columnists have also objected to Canberra's "tolerance" towards the anti-vax views of some MPs.
Christensen, a member of Australia’s ruling coalition comprising the Liberal and the National parties, called for “civil disobedience” in November last year, in response to calls of “vaccine mandates” from some quarters of the nation’s political establishment. Christened liked the vaccine mandates to decrees made by Hitler and Pol Pot (the late Cambodian dictator).
Antic, a senator from Morrison’s Liberal Party, has described the government’s decision of deporting Djokovic as “regrettable.” He has also been a vocal opponent of vaccine mandates in Australia.
Serbia's Novak Djokovic serves the ball to Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff (not pictured) during the men's singles group stage match between Serbia and Germany of the Davis Cup tennis tournament in Innsbruck, Austria, on November 27, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.01.2022
'Disappointed' Novak Djokovic Leaves Australia After Court Upholds His Visa Cancellation
Senator Canavan, another ally of Morrison, also described vaccine passports as “divisive” and has issued public calls to “boycott businesses” which have demanded of their workers be compulsorily vaccinated.

“I mean you can't be a wolf Mr Morrison, acting all tough in front of Novak Djokovic, but then be a lamb, weak, and timid as you are standing in front of your own party room,” Keneally commented.

She went on to "challenge" the Prime Minister and his cabinet colleagues to call out the prominent anti-vaxxer backbenchers in Austrs parliament for spreading vaccine hesitancy among the public.
“Be clear. Condemn and call out George Christensen, Matt Canavan, Gerard Rennick and Alex Antic for their anti-vaccination sentiment,” she declared.

Morrison Defends Decision to Expel Djokovic

PM Morrison, meanwhile, has fended off ongoing criticism for not taking to task the coalition MPs who have been accused of spreading “anti-vaccination sentiment” among the public.

“Well, you're conflating two different issues, Ben. In Australia, if you're an Australian, you're a citizen, your resident and you're a citizen, you can be here and you can express your views,” Morrison told 2GB Radio on Monday when asked why were the Australian MPs who had been spreading the “anti-vax messages” gone “unpunished."

“If you're someone coming from overseas and there are conditions for you to enter this country, well you have to comply with them. And it's as simple as that. This is about someone who sought to come to Australia and not comply with the entry rules at our border. That's what this is about,” the Australian leader remarked.
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