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What is ministerial intervention?

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After Novak Djokovic’s visa ban was overruled by a judge this week, the Federal Government has warned it is considering the possibility of re-cancelling it.

So, what is ministerial intervention?

Under the Migration Act 1958, the Immigration Minister has the power to change a decision on a case if they believe it is in the public interest to do so. 

Specifically, the Migration Act states the Minister can cancel a visa if they believe the person poses a risk to “the health, safety or good order of the Australian community or a segment of the Australian community” or “the health or safety of an individual or individuals”.

Djokovic’s case

After the judge’s decision on Monday, a spokesperson for Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said he was “currently considering the matter and the process remains ongoing”.

If Immigration Minister Alex Hawke does use his ministerial discretion to cancel Djokovic’s visa, the tennis star would need to leave the country immediately and could not re-enter for three years. 

There has still been no decision made.

Other cases

The Minister’s power to intervene has received a lot of attention in the past few years due to the high-profile case of the Murugappan family from the Queensland town of Biloela. Last year, Minister Hawke granted three bridging visas for three members of the family, but not one for the youngest daughter, Tharnicaa.

The family will remain in community detention in Perth unless the Minister’s intervention powers are used.

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