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Scott Morrison rejects Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley’s ‘contradictory information’ claim

Scott Morrison has rejected an account from the boss of Tennis Australia that his government gave “contradictory information” on vaccine exemptions ahead of the Novak Djokovic debacle.

The Prime Minister was asked on Monday to respond to claims by chief executive Craig Tiley that Tennis Australia had been trying to get clarity “from day one” about exemptions.

“It could not be more clear,” Mr Morrison answered.

“In relation to the government, our government, the federal government’s advice to Tennis Australia, that was set out very clearly in November as I read the extract from this very podium.”

Mr Morrison was referring to two letters – including one from Health Minister Greg Hunt – which told Mr Tiley that having Covid in the past six months was not a valid exemption.

“In relation to your specific questions, I can confirm that people who contracted Covid-19 within the past six months and seek to enter Australia from overseas, and have not received two doses of a Therapeutic Goods Administration-approved or recognised vaccine are not considered fully vaccinated,” the letter said.

Documents released by the Federal Court on Saturday confirmed Djokovic returned a positive PCR test result on December 16 and was therefore unable to get a vaccine.

Djokovic’s lawyers have argued in court – which has been plagued by technical difficulties – he should be allowed to stay because he recently had Covid.

Camera IconPrime Minister Scott Morrison said his government couldn’t have been more clear. NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage Credit: News Corp Australia

But the federal government insists a recent infection only provides an exemption for residents.

Mr Tiley on Sunday told Channel 9 that clarity was sought well ahead of the world No. 1 having his visa cancelled after touching down at Melbourne Airport on Thursday.

“There was plenty of contradictory information, plenty of conflicting information and we were constantly seeking clarity from day one to ensure that one, we did the right thing and two, we were able to bring the players into the country,” he told the network.

“All the information we had at the time, the knowledge we had at the time, was supplied to players.

“We’re not going to lay the blame on anyone. There’s much contradictory information … it’s because of the changing environment.”

The decision to cancel the star’s visa was quashed in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia on Monday afternoon after hours of legal argument.

Judge Anthony Kelly ordered Djokovic to be released immediately – leaving the Serb free to play at the Australian Open, with tournament matches beginning on Monday next week.

But in a shocking twist, government lawyer Christopher Tran flagged the immigration minister could consider whether to exercise “the personal power of cancellation” to cancel Djokovic’s visa again.

“If this man is to be summarily removed, he cannot return to this country for three years. Am I right about that?” Judge Kelly asked.

Mr Tran indicated that was the case.

Djokovic has won the Australian Open nine times and is seeking a 10th title, which would eclipse rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

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