Serbia, Rio Tinto, Novak Djokovic and Australia’s Rancid Hypocrisy  

Fair Dinkum

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić has announced her country is expelling Rio Tinto as it pulls out of the Jadar lithium project, costing Australia $3.6 billion. Brnabić told reporters: “All decisions (linked to the lithium project) and all licences have been annulled.” She went on to conclude: “As far as project Jadar is concerned, this is an end.”

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić speaks during a news conference after a Serbian government session about Rio Tinto, in Belgrade, Serbia, January 20, 2022.

In light of the Australian-Djokovic debacle, the expelling of Rio Tinto from Serbia is being framed in the Australian media as a case of “Serbia retaliating against Australia’s deportation of Djokovic,” even though the decision was in the pipeline for some time owing to widespread protests in Serbia against the Rio Tinto project and may have no relationship to the Djokovic affair. We will never know for sure, but questions will no doubt linger in Australia over the timing of the decision. Whatever the case, we can be sure another absurd political dance of destruction is about to play out in Australia.

Demonstrators hold a banner reading “Serbia is not for sale” during a protest against Rio Tinto’s plans to open a lithium mine. Source Reuters.

Since Scott Morrison came to power, he has created a trail of destruction with countries all over the world. He is turning Australia into a pariah state. The longer Morrison and his goons stay in power, the number of countries offended by Australia grows which now extends to France, Germany and almost all other EU countries, Russia, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Papua New Guinea, East Timor, Vanuatu, several other Pacific Island nations, and now the Balkans.

Morrison will have to start looking to Africa to find new nations to offend. Given his public criticisms of China and Hong Kong, perhaps he could make a major statement condemning Morocco’s illegal occupation of the Western Sahara since 1975. This was the year Morocco invaded the Western Sahara on its “Green March”, claiming the Western Sahara as its own. Dutton should focus global attention on this illegal occupation, calling for sanctions to be placed on Morocco, and push for a major build-up of military aircraft, warships and nuclear submarines in the Strait of Gibraltar. Of course, it will never happen.

  Two Sahrawi women return to their village in the Western Sahara.

  A Sahrawi girl.

And we know why this will never happen. No one ever thinks of the Western Sahara, or even knows it exists. It is of absolutely no importance whatsoever in international relations. But the case of Morocco’s illegal occupation of the Western Sahara shines a light on the hypocrisy and agendas of the West, and it is reasonable to conclude that Australia, the UK, and US’s constant attacks on China over Hong Kong is nothing but political wanking.

And what happened to the famous trade agreements Australia was supposed to sign with the EU and India? It’s not happening and that’s more bad news for Australia’s economy.

With Australia hellbent on sabotaging its relationship with so many countries around the world, everyone must be wondering what was truly behind the Australia-China saga, and whether Australia’s attempt to portray itself as being a victim of China’s bullying has any merit whatsoever. That’s good news for China, bad for Australia.

And with the Ukraine about to explode into a war involving the US and Russia, China is off the hook for the time being, even though Peter Dutton is recklessly trying to draw China into the conflict.

  Novak Djokovich

Returning to the Djokovic affair, it is clear the entire political fiasco was nothing but a Morrison ruse to distract Australians from his disastrous mismanagement of the present outbreak of Covid-19 across Australia with almost two million new infections. He sits on his Grand Thorne telling Australians, “We have to go through it.” His ruse was to use Djokovic as a political pawn to help salvage his dramatic falls in the polls – a political enhancement exercise with Djokovic portrayed as the “nasty villain” simply because he was “an icon of free choice” (to use the words of government lawyers in the Australian Federal Court), and Morrison portrayed as the “Great Saviour of the Australian nation,” protecting our borders from the threat of freedom of expression.  It wasn’t even about Covid-19 or his vaccination status.

  A cartoon in which Novak Djokovic finds himself embroiled in Australian politics and compelled to use his tennis racket to pull a sinking Prime Minister Scott Morrison out of a quagmire containing vaccination needles and negative political polls.

What are the ramifications of the Djokovic affair for Australia? Djokovic now intends to sue the Australian government for $6 million dollars. If the case goes to court, it will be an international media circus, dragging on for years, inflicting further damage on Australia credibility, especially if he wins the case. Australia’s image will never be the same again. For this reason, we can expect the Australian government will play dirty in the next court case as it did in the last.

When this sad Australian Open 2022 is finally over, there will be recriminations, reflections, and robust debate inside the International Tennis Federation over the Djokovic debacle. Questions need to be asked as to whether politics played a role in his ill-treatment in Australia, or in the decision made by the Federal Court, or his deportation, and whether it was fair and reasonable to inflict so much damage on his career, income and his family. Should Australia lose the Grand Slam as a result of the fallout expected over the Djokovic affair, it may be the right time to move the Grand Slam to Asia. Beijing, Shanghai or Tokyo would be great options for a new fresh “Asian Grand Slam” necessary to clean up the awful stigma on international tennis caused by Australia over the Djokovic debacle. “Asian Grand Slam” has a nice ring to it. It sounds right, and probably is right.


Since writing this article, the Australian Sports Minister Richard Colbeck has demanded: “Australian athletes should be free to express their political opinions at next month’s Winter Olympics” in Beijing. This is rancid hypocrisy. Australia has just deported Novak Djokovic for expressing his opinions, not his current opinions, but views expressed about 18 months ago. Djokovic didn’t come to Australia to express his political opinions. He came to play tennis and now we have the Australian Sports Minister inciting Australian athletes to make political speeches at the Winter Olympics in China, rather than just going to play sports. In China, “rules are rules”, as Scott Morrison and thousands of Australians like to trot out to justify Djokovic’s deportation. But Aussie rules don’t apply in China, and it is wrong to incite Australian athletes to break rules in China by inciting them into becoming political agents and encouraging them to engage in anti-China political activities at the Winter Olympics. The spirit of the Olympics is about keeping politics out of sports. The Australian government’s attempt to politicalise the Winter Olympics desecrates the spirit of the Olympics.

The arrogance of Australia is on display to the whole world. The Australian government has just deported Djokovic on the basis that he was promoting “free choice”, freedom of expression, and for expressing an opinion that was not even political or an attack on Australia. For Djokovic, expressing an opinion 18 months ago was deemed a crime. So much for freedom of expression in Australia. For Australia to claim the moral high-ground by ranting on about “freedom of political expression” at the Winter Olympics is absurd, clumsy and dangerous.

Having destroyed Australia’s relationships with countries around the world, the Australian government is now attempting to sabotage the Winter Olympics. Australia’s Defence Minister Peter Dutton recently attempted to incite Australian celebrities into acting as his propaganda agents by demanding celebrities come out and criticize China’s treatment of women. This is laughable nonsense given the Australian government’s appalling response to women raped and sexually abused in the Australian parliament, its casual attitude towards MPs bringing prostitutes into the parliament, and creating a culture in which a government employee was free to masturbate over the desk of a female MP. Whether it is political or sex, it’s all about wanking over China with Peter Dutton. He never stops.

To watch Novak Djokovic being deported at Melbourne airport as if he was a criminal was gut-wrenching. It was wrong. In the background of the twisted Djokovic Affair, there has not been a single word from the Australian government protesting about the appalling abuse being inflicted by the UK government on Julian Assange over his right as a journalist to let the world know of the hideous crimes committed by the US government. Dutton’s concerns for a Chinese tennis player is disingenuous. He doesn’t genuinely care about her as a human being but sees an opportunity to weaponize her for propaganda purposes in order to smear China. This is not just rancid hypocrisy, but a vile dirty war in which Australia is simply trying to score points over China by inciting its own athletes and celebrities to become agents of chaos in political warfare. Should athletes and celebrities be sucked into the Dutton trap, they’ll become political pawns by allowing Colbeck and Dutton to speak through them. Mixing politics and sports is always a bad idea.

The Australian government is inflicting damage on the world in a much more insidious and dangerous way by politicalizing the very meaning of the word “truth”, corrupting the concept of it. The world must see Australia’s grubby politics in international relations and sports for what it is.

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