Scott Morrison under pressure to call out colleagues' anti-vax views after Djokovic decision

Labor's immigration and home affairs spokeswoman Kristina Keneally.
Labor's immigration and home affairs spokeswoman Kristina Keneally.

Scott Morrison is under renewed pressure to call out vaccine critics within the Coalition, with a Labor frontbencher saying the Prime Minister cannot act like a "wolf" in front of Novak Djokovic and a "lamb" when dealing with his own party.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke's decision to cancel Djokovic's visa on the grounds he might stoke anti-vaccine sentiment in Australia has thrust the spotlight back onto the controversial views of multiple members of the Morrison government.

Nationals George Christensen and Matt Canavan, Queensland LNP Senator Gerard Rennick and South Australian Liberal Alex Antic have all publicly expressed fierce opposition to vaccine mandates.

Labor's immigration and home affairs spokeswoman, Kristina Keneally, suggested if Mr Morrison was genuinely concerned about public figures derailing the vaccine rollout he would confront his Coalition colleagues.

"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're standing in front of your own party room," Senator Keneally said on Monday.

"If you really care about supporting the vaccine rollout, if you really care about ensuring that children get vaccinated, if you really care about ensuring that Australians get their booster shots, stand up today."


Senator Keneally issued the same challenge to each of Mr Morrison's ministerial colleagues.

She also questioned why the federal government had issued Djokovic a visa last November, given his anti-vaccine views were widely known.

During an interview with 2GB radio on Monday morning, Mr Morrison told Ben Fordham he was "conflating two different issues" when the radio host suggested the Prime Minister take action against his colleagues who were spreading anti-vax messages.

"In Australia, if you're an Australian, you're a citizen ... you can be here and you can express your views," Mr Morrison said.

"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."

Djokovic was deported late on Sunday night after the Federal Court upheld Mr Hawke's decision to cancel his visa for a second time.

The decision means the 34-year-old will miss an immediate chance to win a 21st grand slam crown, which would move him clear of rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

In the interview on Monday, Mr Morrison appeared to argue Djokovic was deported because he didn't have a valid reason not to be vaccinated.

While this was the reason why Djokovic's visa was cancelled the first time, it was not the reason for Mr Hawke's decision late last Friday.

"You want to come, you have to be vaccinated or you've got to have a valid medical exemption, and neither of those were in place," Mr Morrison said.

"So people make their own choices. And those choices meant you couldn't come here and play tennis."

Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:

This story 'Stand up': PM under pressure to call out anti-vax colleagues first appeared on The Canberra Times.