In the federal court, Justice Besanko intervened to ask whether it was sufficient that the immigration minister was aware of possible unrest if Djokovic were deported, or whether he had to take that into account in his decision.
For the Australian government, Stephen Lloyd replied:
They have to show he failed to consider the issue. They say there is nothing in the decision about it, so you should infer he didn’t do it.
We say: he doesn’t have to do a comprehensive set of reasons. There’s no obligation of reasons, so you shouldn’t start from the proposition that if not mentioned it wasn’t done.
A whole lot of other things are mentioned which suggests those matters were taken into account in the decision making process. [Alex Hawke] has in mind the broad possibility of unrest, whatever his decision. It becomes impossible to infer that wasn’t part of the balance.
Just away from the Djokovic case for a moment, the health minister Greg Hunt has defended the government’s approach to rapid antigen test procurement.
In October, when asked about the availability of rapid antigen tests, Hunt said that the government would “let that market develop”. Fast forward three months and the tests are in short supply, leading the Australian Medical Association to describe the situation as a “market failure”.
The health minister said that around the world the Omicron variant had seen case numbers explode from 500,000 cases a day to more than 4 million cases a day, and supplies were a “global challenge”.
But he said supplies of the 66 approved tests, including home and point of care kits, were now coming into Australia.
What you’re seeing is increasing supply of rapid antigen tests, but right around the world vastly increased demand.
We’ve been in the market since August, and we’ve been able to provide that continuous supply to aged care. The states have recently entered the market and they’ve indicated that there are significant purchases that they’ve made, and we are beginning to see now already more supplies coming into the pharmacies and the supermarkets.
So that’s been a global challenge, but what I’m pleased about is that the Australian market has responded.
Hunt said that the GP package to expand telehealth, announced Sunday morning, did not include the provision of rapid antigen tests because it was focused on personal protective equipment, but the government would allow rapid antigen test diagnoses to qualify for the Covid supplement payment to doctors.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners “cautiously welcomed” the GP package, which it said had been announced after its meetings with the minister.
RACGP President Dr Karen Price said:
It’s positive news that the Government is listening to the Royal Australian College of GPs on telehealth and need for more support to manage the increasing number of COVID-19 positive patients in the community.
GPs and patients have embraced telehealth during the pandemic, and it is here to stay. Video and telephone consultations have changed the way we deliver healthcare and I believe many patients will continue to utilise telehealth for years to come post-pandemic as a compliment to face-to-face care.
We have strongly advocated for Medicare rebates to remain for longer telephone consultations and for good reason. Telehealth use in Australia is largely phone-based. Between March 2020 and March 2021, video consultations comprised only 2.4% of telehealth services. Video consultations are not suitable for many patients including older people unaccustomed to the technology or those with unreliable internet access.