Saturday 22nd of January 2022

the real joker...


The decision to allow world No.1 Novak Djokovic to contest the Australian Open has won support from the peak men’s tennis body, who described the saga as “damaging on all fronts”.

The statement from the ATP came as Immigration Minister Alex Hawke was considering on Tuesday whether there were still grounds to cancel the Serb’s visa, after Monday’s court ruling.

It also followed the Djokovic family calling an abrupt end to a media briefing to celebrate his court win when they were grilled about the star’s actions in the days following his positive COVID test in December.


The ATP issued a statement on Tuesday that welcomed the court ruling that quashed the decision to block Djokovic’s entry into Australia.

“In travelling to Melbourne, it’s clear Novak Djokovic believed he had been granted a necessary medical exemption in order to comply with entry regulations,” the ATP said.

“The series of events leading to Monday’s court hearing have been damaging on all fronts, including for Novak’s well-being and preparation for the Australian Open.”


The ATP also called for greater clarity over the rules.

“The ATP fully respects the sacrifices the people of Australia have made since the onset of COVID-19 and the stringent immigration policies that have been put in place,” it said.

“Complications in recent days related to player entry into Australia have, however, highlighted the need for clearer understanding, communication and application of the rules.”

The ATP also urged all of its male players to get vaccinated, with 97 per cent of the top 100 already jabbed.

Within hours of being released from immigration detention on Monday evening, Novak Djokovic headed to Rod Laver Arena for a practice session in preparation for his planned Australian Open title defence.


The Serb was granted late night access to the court to loosen his limbs and reacquaint himself with his tennis racquets after spending almost a week under guard at a Melbourne detention hotel, and the day at his lawyers’ chambers listening to the court case.


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scomo's smirk....

Scott Morrison smirked as he announced that he was removing the “heavy hand of government” while COVID cases soared in late December. Government would no longer be “shutting down people’s lives”. The repellent image was a metaphor for this inhuman society.

The one glimmer of hope has been the outpouring of bitter anger and cynicism against his calls for us to exercise “personal responsibility” to stay safe while every measure to protect people was being dismantled. He is guilty of the incompetence, hypocrisy and lack of empathy people accuse him of. But that is just the result of a determined, reactionary agenda. Morrison preferred all along to end support for people in their suffering and get back to business as usual.

The call for individuals to take responsibility for the safety of children, the aged and the sick is reprehensible. It is an open declaration that the needs of the many must be trashed for the untrammelled freedom of business to make profits.

There has been a chorus of denunciations of health measures as authoritarian, and for giving governments too much power to surveil and control us. But the removal of regulations to deal with COVID has not reduced government power—the emphasis of how that power is wielded has just shifted. Now, by decree, the government is denying individuals the information needed to stay safe, removing payments to make isolation possible and forcing people to work in unsafe conditions.

This gives capitalists added freedom to ignore the usual expectation of safety at work. As Marx argued, capitalists demand the freedom to employ workers without governmental limits on their savage exploitation. The demand for public health measures is just an extension of the battles unions have waged for centuries to win minimal legal health and safety standards. This time we’re losing.

Those who suffered most in lockdowns are now most at risk. They still work in essential industries with no option to work at home and can’t obtain RATs or afford to sacrifice income waiting in queues for PCR tests.

Those “responsible” enough to have clawed their way into the higher groups of wage earners can work from home or take paid leave to limit their exposure to the virus. Anyone who had the “foresight” to ensconce themself in a spacious, well-ventilated house with at least two bathrooms, balconies and spaces that can be shut off can isolate an infected member of the family.


The chaos and out of control spread of COVID is shutting down people’s lives. Many of the elderly or sick have never been as isolated as now for fear of infection. This is confirmed by the whining of the small capitalists in the cafe industry as people stay away in droves. 

“This is worse than lockdown, because we have no support and the staff are really a lot more freaked out at the moment than they were last time”, said Melbourne bar owner Maz Salt to the New Daily, echoing many others formerly demanding freedom from state intervention. “There’s panic that they are going to catch [COVID-19], there’s panic that they can’t get tests, there’s panic that they won’t get any [financial] support.”

This boss dismisses as “panic” what for workers is a realistic understanding of the threatening situation.

The rhetoric of personal responsibility, of getting the government out of our lives, comes from the song sheets of the far right. It’s the cover to unleash an outright attack on standards of universal free health care workers have come to expect. The Liberals always have an eye for this opportunity. Their capitalist backers have never fully supported free health care and fight tooth and nail to reduce the tax rates required to fund it. Over the last few decades, after being the initiators and defenders of Medicare, Labor has shamefully also refused to fund it properly.

Labor premiers have followed NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and Morrison down the path of unleashing COVID on the population. This is a serious defeat for the ideas of social and collective responsibility that have been the hallmark of the labour movement for centuries.

There is an ideological cleavage in society. The mantra of “personal responsibility” has always justified capitalists’ refusal to provide a decent, secure life for the mass of people they exploit.

Adherence to safety measures, helped by government payments to make isolation possible, generated a sense of social responsibility among the vast majority. But this is anathema to capitalists. It would never go on indefinitely without challenge.


The ideas of collective solidarity are associated with the workers’ movement. When workers are confident and militant and our side fights for decent conditions, that ethos is reflected in our slogans: “Touch one, touch all”, “Workers of the world unite!”

If we are to force governments to provide decent health care, we must rebuild a movement with a renewed fighting spirit.

But while this profit driven system of exploitation exists, it will be one battle after another to defend health over profits. Out of these struggles we need to build a socialist movement. The only way we’ll have genuine freedom is when society is no longer driven by the profit motives of a tiny minority who only support freedom for their class.


Letting it rip: COVID, crisis & capitalism
How did it get to this and what can we do?
Join the online meeting, Friday 14 January at 7pm AEST.


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Cool bull…

Astonishing footage has emerged of Seven Network newsreaders Rebecca Maddern and Mike Amor blasting embattled tennis star Novak Djokovic in an expletive-laden hot mike exchange.

The footage, leaked online late on Tuesday, shows Melbourne-based Maddern and Amor slamming the world No.1 as a “sneaky a—hole” and questioning whether he lied on travel documents.

“Whatever way you look at it, Novak Djokovic is a lying, sneaky, a—hole,” Maddern says.

“It’s unfortunate that everybody else stuffed up around him.

“To go out when you know you’re COVID-positive – well, I don’t think he was even COVID-positive …”

Amor also called Djokovic an “a—hole” and added: “You’ve got a bulls–t f—ing excuse and then he fell over his own f—ing lies, which is what happens, right? That’s what’s happened.”


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they're lousy at tennis...

Adnan Choopani fled Iran as a 15-year-old and headed for Australia. He’s now 24, and has been locked up in “hell” by the Australian government this whole time – nine years and counting.

After more than six years of detention on Nauru, Mr Choopani was transferred to onshore detention to receive medical treatment, before ending up at the Park Hotel in mid-2021.

On January 6, the 33 asylum seekers currently detained at the hotel were joined by world No.1 tennis player Novak Djokovic and, for the first time, their plight was thrust onto the world stage.


As protesters gathered outside the hotel, The New York Times called them a “disparate group” of Djokovic fans and asylum seeker advocates.

Al Jazeera said the ordeal “highlights [the] plight of asylum seekers in Australia”.

One Serbian tabloid even called the building a “hotel of horrors”.

For Mr Choopani, that’s an apt description.

“We are suffering from very serious mental health and physical health issues,” he told The New Daily.

“The others and myself are suffering from PTSD because of detention.”

For him, Australia’s system of indefinite immigration detention amounts to “hell run by professional torturers”.

It’s a similar story from all of the detained asylum seekers at the Park Hotel.


One of them, 23-year-old Medhi Ali, has even called for Djokovic to highlight their situation to the rest of the world.

Tweet from @MehdiAli98

Almost all of the people detained in the Park Hotel have been classified as legitimate refugees by the UNHCR, but because they attempted to enter Australia by boat, the government has vowed never to let them in.

In Mr Choopani’s case, he cannot return home because he’s a member of the persecuted Ahwazi Arab minority.

Advocates say the conditions in the hotel demonstrate how inhumane Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers is, but even these conditions are better than on Nauru or Manus Island.

At the Park Hotel, detainees are largely confined to their rooms, they can’t open their windows for fresh air, and they’re subject to arbitrary headcounts in the middle of the night.

Some of them, including Mr Choopani, have even found maggots and mould in the food given to them.

And despite the government using the hotel to detain Djokovic as a potential threat to public health, the detained asylum seekers had already dealt with a COVID outbreak inside the building that was exacerbated by the harsh conditions.

This memory in particular remains a lingering fear for many of the detainees as Omicron cases skyrocket.

“It’s just been cruel disaster after disaster,” said Chris Breen, an activist with the Refugee Action Collective of Victoria.

The group is one of several advocacy groups that have been protesting outside the hotel.


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ASPI is NOT an independent think-tank...


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Serbian Lawmaker on Djokovic Case: It Wouldn't Have Happened If He Wasn't a Serb


WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Member of Belgrade city parliament Draginja Vlk has told Sputnik that she believes the current situation with Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic would not have occurred if he was not Serbian, and expressed regret that sports are being used for political goals.


"It is a pity that sport is used for political purposes", Vlk said. "Novak Djokovic is the best tennis player of all time and we are confident that justice will prevail. Unfortunately, I don't think it would have happened if he hadn't been Serb, but it is precisely this spirit of freedom and struggle, that he has in his blood, that give him the strength to endure".


On Saturday, media outlets reported that Djokovic was detained by the Australian immigration police soon after his visa was revoked for a second time.






Had Djokovic been called Smith from Washington and be a black American nice guy, could the situation and resolution been different? Who knows. As Our Saucisson (Scott Morrison) calls for "freedom", we can see here that the "freedom" is relative to the mood of the public, frothed up by the media. The disgraceful rant by Channel 7 presenters "during an ad-break?" would have not happened, or they would have had to face "a" tribunal for being racist. 


Meanwhile, hopefully, the same expulsion fate beckons Our Saucisson at the next elections...



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national stuffup...

So many of Australia's COVID rules just don't make sense – and weariness with governments is growing




 / By Laura Tingle



The announcement came over the plane PA system as the flight from London — carrying a friend returning from a funeral — taxied to the terminal at Sydney airport.

In line with current NSW rules, passengers were told to do a rapid antigen test within 24 hours and isolate until they got a result.

But, as is the case almost everywhere in Australia, there were no RATs available at the airport.

She had brought some tests with her "but there must be people coming in who don't have them", my friend messaged. "Seems pretty crazy. I thought they would be handing them out to everyone disembarking." 

Welcome to A'straya.

LIVE UPDATES: Read our blog for the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic

There are plenty of stories of the seeming idiocy of the conflicts created by unravelling public health policies — pronouncements of obligations to meet various testing requirements, or rules that just don't make sense any more — but we'll start with this one, because it has strands that go into so many other shambles just now.

Consider this: if my friend had landed in Queensland, she would have had to go into 14 days home quarantine. In Western Australia, into 14 days hotel quarantine at her own expense.


Every state and territory now has their own rules. But it also raises the question of why we still even have border restrictions in place.

As the former head of the Department of Health, Jane Halton, told 7.30 this week, the value of the restrictions is questionable when the rate of COVID infections in Australia is now higher than in the US or UK. (As of January 12, 397.4 per 100,000, compared to 234.4 in the US and 221 in the UK, according to the Financial Times coronavirus tracker.)

Closed borders aren't working anymore

Closed international borders were one of the first things governments did to "keep us safe". But they aren't working anymore. Now their main effect is keeping out a lot of the workers we have traditionally relied on to fill jobs, even before the shortages created by people getting sick from COVID or being forced to isolate. According to this week's numbers, there were 400,000 job vacancies in Australia in November.

Maybe we could add an obligation to BYO RATs to the existing requirement — for those who are currently allowed to come here — to prove that they are double vaccinated.

Rapid antigen tests have suddenly become the key to society functioning, and the best symbol of how the whole "government getting out of your face" thing seems to have gone so spectacularly awry in the past six weeks.

That messaging just happened to coincide with the arrival of Omicron, a development which required perhaps the biggest gear shift in policy so far.

At his post-national cabinet press conference on Thursday afternoon, the Prime Minister observed that national cabinet's policy objective was "a constant daily process of balancing the need to keep people at work and to protect our hospitals".

The only problem is how inadequately the government seems to be equipped to manage this balancing task.

National cabinet — that's the states as well as the federal government, of course — agreed on Thursday to further relax the "close contacts" rules requiring members of the same household as a COVID case to isolate for seven days.

With the potential for up to 10 per cent of the workforce off work, according to the PM, but with some industries suggesting the rate in their businesses is up to 50 per cent, it was an understandable move.

The hinge on which this whole thing works

The new regime will mean workers in the transport, freight, logistics, emergency services, energy, water, waste management, food, beverage, telecommunications, data, broadcasting, media, education and childcare industries will be allowed to return to work immediately after a negative rapid test.

And, of course, there's the rub.

The rapid antigen tests are the hinge on which this whole thing works. Yet the slightly irritated way the PM dealt with questions about the lack of tests said much about the way governments collectively not only seem to have (not) planned, or anticipated, the likely demand for the tests, but seem to be almost at a point where it's all just become too hard for them to work out what to do about it.


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