Now I know some of you will be familiar with the idea of confirmation bias where we notice the evidence that suits our world view while filtering out things that don’t fit. It means that most people can make a case for anything.
And it’s not a case of intelligence either. Intelligent people can often make far more convincing cases for their world view. “No recorded evidence to support what I’m saying just means that they’re obviously covering it up. Surely if it was incorrect, you’d find something that I could use to further my case!”
So the recent case of Novak Djokovic has had people scrambling because there are so many contradictions that it’s hard for a person to work out how people will actually respond to the politics of it all.
Let me try and unwind the narrative while keeping my personal opinions to one side and to simply look at the politics of the situation. Here’s a brief rundown of events so far:
- Novak (or No-vax, as some have taken to calling him) is a well-known anti-vaxxer.
- Victorian Premier is on record as saying that non-vaccinated players would not be allowed to compete at The Australian Open.
- An independent medical body was set up to look at possible exemptions which would allow non-vaccinated players to play.
- Apparently the medical body accepted Djokovic’s evidence and granted him a medical exemption
- There is some cynicism about the “independence” of the body.
- Scott Morrison tells us on Wednesday that it’s “a matter for the Victorian government. They have provided him with an exemption to come to Australia, and so we then act in accordance with that decision.”
- Border Force detain Djokovic and then cancel his visa.
- I tweet that Scotty is looking for his Tampa moment. (Ok, probably not that significant but I do like to point out when I get things right, like Turnbull becoming PM and Scotty doing a Bradbury skating past both Dutton and Bishop. Given how often Nick Coatsworth is invited to give his opinion on Covid, it’s entirely reasonable to never mention any predictions I got wrong!)
- Ten minutes later, Scott Morrison tells us that rules are rules and this is all about strong borders and just stops short of completely paraphrasing Howard and saying something like: We will decide who plays tennis and the circumstances under which they play.
- No, this is not just because Djokovic is a high profile player, we are told that everyone is treated the same.
- There is the suggestion that there were other tennis players who had the same medical exemption as Djokovic.
- Border Force show that they treat everyone the same by suddenly noticing and detaining a female player they let through before they realised that this wasn’t an acceptable reason.
This is about where we’re at.
Now let’s look at the politics of the situation. On Wednesday, Morrison seemed very sure that it was the Victorian government’s decision and there was no suggestion that there may be some problem. While it’s possible to argue that Morrison wasn’t aware of the individual circumstances and that this was an example of the separation of powers, it certainly sounded like he was trying to distance his government from any backlash regarding Djokovic’s appearance in Australia.
However, once the visa was cancelled, then it was all the government’s STRONG borders.
Of course, this may play out well with all those who thought that Novak shouldn’t be allowed in, but the interesting thing is that it’s almost a complete turnaround from Scotty’s attempt to dog-whistle to the anti-vaxxers and anti-lockdown protesters that he would be right behind them if only he wasn’t busy not holding a hose. Suddenly, it’s Scotty the Protector of the Empire, not Scotty Making HIs William Wallace speech for freedom. Hard to know whether he’ll lose more potential votes than he’ll win with this change.
Various letters are leaked to the press in an attempt to show that the federal government had been quite consistent in their position on unvaccinated players. Nobody asks who leaked the letters.
However, a week’s a long time in politics so it’s no wonder that our PM needs so many breaks. Before the day was out, it’s been suggested that Mr Djokovic wasn’t the only one with the same medical exemption. By Saturday morning the public were told that another player, Renata Voracova, had been detained…
Which begs the question, how did she slip through our strong borders? I mean, how did she get by our thorough Border Force officers who treat everyone the same and didn’t just single out Novak? This doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence that the rules are rules and applying to everyone equally…
As for keeping us safe, this woman has already competed in a practice tournament…
Now, both the freedom narrative and the keeping the borders strong narrative are both looking a little shaky…
Looks like they’ll have to find a way to blame Labor.
Why on earth did Dan Andrews grant him a visa? Whoops, state governments don’t grant visas.
We granted him a visa based on Dan Andrews say so. The medical review was an independent process.
Oh look, a high profile resignation, let’s talk about that instead!!
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