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Australian Open: The controversial lieutenant, grandson of refugees, who holds the future of Djokovic in his hands

Australian Open: The controversial lieutenant, grandson of refugees, who holds the future of Djokovic in his hands

His grandparents fled Greece during World War II, he enlisted in the army, worked in a supermarket and a year ago he was appointed Minister of Immigration.

Alex Hawke, Australian Immigration Minister.THE WORLD

Alex hawke He does not speak Greek, like many third-generation Australians whose grandparents fled Greece during World War II. But he knows the stories of when his maternal grandfather fought against the Nazis in Chortiatis, the village of his family, in the mountains of Thessalonica. Hawke is the grandson of the survivor of a massacre. German troops burned 300 houses in Chortiatis and executed 146 Greek soldiers and civilians. Many of them were children.

It was September 1944. Hawke’s family managed to escape and emigrate to Australia. There were many Greeks who came by boat to the Pacific country fleeing the war and dragging traumas that their descendants do not forget. Hawke, it doesn’t.

The grandson of immigrants, of Greek refugees from World War II, is now Australia’s Minister of Immigration. It belongs to the more conservative wing Liberal Party. Despite his family history, with two grandparents forced to flee the war in his country, Hawke has done nothing to change the harsh immigration policy towards refugees and asylum seekers, who since 2013 have been transferred to camps on the high seas in small islands in the Pacific, or locked up for years in detention centers.

Section 133 of the Migration Law

Hawke was promoted to immigration minister following a reorganization of the Australian government in October last year. The local press has always considered it the right hand of Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Now, his name has left the Australian borders and is written in newspapers around the world because he is the key person in the first soap opera of 2022: the Djokovic case.

On Monday, when the judge reversed the decision of the border authorities to cancel the tennis player’s visa, the figure of Hawke appeared on the scene. As Minister of Immigration, you can turn to section 133 of the Migration Law which gives you exceptional power to cancel Djokovic’s visa again. You can do it if you consider that the Serbian “represents a health risk, the safety or good order of the Australian community. “

If you decide to run the power, the tennis player will probably be deported, he would face a ban from entering Australia for the next three years and his lawyers could appeal the decision and the process would drag on for months. If he doesn’t, Djokovic will stay in Melbourne and compete at the Australian Open to win his 21st Grand Slam.

Djokovic rests, during training on Tuesday.EFE

On Tuesday, Hawke spoke on the case through a spokesman, who said the minister was still considering “thoroughly” whether to cancel the tennis player’s visa. Analysts see Hawke as the last resort of the judicially defeated Australian government to fix the disaster. And that there is no exception for a person, whoever they are, who has landed in the country without being vaccinated, bypassing the border requirement that all Australians have to comply with, no matter how much medical exemption they may have, to stay longer in Australia.

All the focus is now on the minister who has the ‘number one’ of the ATP in suspense. A politician who enlisted in the military as a teenager. He served for six years. He even reached the rank of lieutenant, until in 2000 he laid down his arms to get into politics, pulling for the now ruling Liberal Party.

In his early political career, which he combined with jobs such as a manager in a supermarket, he managed to lead the youth of the party in New South Wales. He became a deputy in 2007 and has not stopped rising since then. After serving as Deputy Minister of Defense, Prime Minister Morrison appointed him Minister of Immigration last year, highlighting his “extraordinary work” in the evacuation of Australian citizens from Kabul when the Taliban seized the capital of Afghanistan.

Support for traditional marriage

We moved 4,100 people in a matter of seven to 10 days on emergency flights in a very dangerous, violent and chaotic situation, “said Hawke, whose career has also been shrouded in many shadows and stale comments on issues of diversity and sexual inclusion. same sex.

“For a long time I have had a conservative view on these issues, in support of traditional marriage. The family unit is the foundation of society,” he said in 2017 after voting against legalizing the union between homosexuals.

A year later, he was one of the staunch defenders of some new rules that tried to allow religious schools to expel gay, bisexual, or transgender students, claiming that “people of faith” were under attack in Australia. Hawke said it was reasonable for parents to want a “Marxist-free” education in the religious schools where they took their children.

The minister has also received much criticism from the opposition for his comments regarding the inclusion of immigrants in Australian society. In a television interview, he suggested that immigrants should “assimilate and integrate” in response to a question about the changes in the Australian citizenship test. He also made a controversial comment in Parliament to the country’s first Muslim Labor MP, Anne Aly, accusing her of thinking that her diversity is “better than other people’s diversity.”


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