A mess of foreign origin

Let’s face it. The parliamentary citizenship crisis is beyond a farce.

It’s an entirely complicated and convoluted mess of gloried confusion and outrage, where simple and practical details are thrown aside in an endless tail-chasing exercise of pointless and fruitless complexity.

As best I can make out, for a person to run for parliament they must have complete loyalty to Australia. But, at the same time, a foreign nation which they have never visited can simply pass a law making that person one of their own for whatever reason it may decide and, hey presto, that person is ineligible.

In other words, you must have no citizenship with a foreign nation to contest an election, but a foreign nation over which you have no power has the ultimate authority to decide whether you have its citizenship.

Or, in other other words, we have reached a point where we protect the Australian parliament from foreign powers by giving foreign powers the power to decide who can’t stand.

That all makes sense in the same way that shooting yourself in the foot does.

To throw in added confusion, it is a matter of historical reality that English, Scottish, Welsh and other ‘citizens’ of Commonwealth nations have legally stood for parliament and held seats in it.

In fact, if the rules today were applied in 1901 we probably wouldn’t have had any parliamentarians at all.

And if you want to make it even more complicated, this is what is written on the Department of Border Protection and Immigration website:

Prior to 4 April 2002, Australian citizens who became citizens of another country lost their Australian citizenship automatically.

Here we have a crystalised mud nugget of clarity: in a classic case of double, double negatives it was the law that before 2002 an Australian citizen could not be a citizen of another nation.

Hence Larissa Waters, Scott Ludlum, Malcolm Roberts, Barnaby Joyce and Fiona Nash could not have been dual citizens up until at least that date but could have been so afterwards. On the evidence, none of them took steps to activate their potential citizenship yet they have all been ruled ineligible.

There has been all sorts of wailing and gnashing of teeth over this affair, with calls for audits and the PM introducing disclosure requirements.

These ‘solutions’, just like the problem itself, are complicated, convoluted, miss the point or threaten to turn a legal crisis of sovereignty into a real one.

Australia’s elected representatives should not have allegiance to foreign powers. Yet we now face a real possibility that in the midst of this confusion there will be a renewed push for a republic or an attempt to change the constitution to allow what no one in Australia wants: parliamentarians who do hold real allegiance to other nations.

There is a simple and easy solution to this farce: reinstate laws that prevent dual citizenship altogether.

It would solve the parliamentary problem and also help address another larger and more important issue.

It’s one thing for a parliamentarian to be elected with an allegiance to a foreign power. It’s another thing entirely for them to be elected by voters who hold allegiance to a foreign power too.

And we might just be in that situation, with claims that half of people living here could be dual citizens. True, the vast majority of Australians would hold dual citizenship without their knowledge or consent due to random law changes in England or New Zealand.

But the point still stands.

Get rid of dual citizenship and you get rid of this problem.

And then we can all start to focus on the real crisis of allegiance that this nation faces. And to highlight that point, I’ll leave the last word to the always brilliant Mark Steyn:

A casual observer might have assumed that a crisis about “allegiance to a foreign power” Down Under would be something to do with the remarkable number of “Australians” signing up for the Islamic State and head-chopping their way across the Levant and the Sunni Triangle. One thinks, for example, of Khaled Sharrouf’s seven-year-old son, born and raised in Sydney but an Internet sensation after he was snapped waving around the bloody, dripping head of a Syrian soldier. Yet the Australian state is genially relaxed about that. It’s only when Fiona Nash starts waving around a bloody, dripping haggis that everyone shrieks, “Oh, my God! How did she get in here?”

Author: Bernard Gaynor

Bernard Gaynor is a married father of nine children. He has a background in military intelligence, Arabic language and culture and is an outspoken advocate of conservative and family values.

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  1. Bernard – you raise two points of significance – thank you.

    The first issue is should our government members be dual citizens? ie should we allow them to have split loyalties. I believe they should not.

    The second point is that of the average Australian citizen and here there is a problem and I use myself as an example.

    I am second generation Kenyan but eligible to British citizenship by virtue of my Scottish Grand father’s birth. Hence my British passport.
    I have lived in Australia since 1970, taken out Australian citizenship and paid my taxes (and pension contribution), hence my Australian passport. I see myself first and foremost as Australian, but where do my loyalties and obligations lie. At first pass I am an Aussie, my children are Australian as are my seven grand children.

    But what about my pension? My part British pension is paid without question, whilst I am disentitled to any of my Australian pension because I was frugal enough to put away some of my after tax dollars to augment my pension. If I relinquish my British citizenship, I automatically lose my part British pension. If my Australian citizenship is revoked then any future possible Australian pension is lost.
    (If I was an overseas country shopper, I would be better looked after with more entitlements than many Aussie pensioners.)

    But what about obligations? Consider the sublime situation where Australia declares war on the British and seventy year olds are conscripted for cannon fodder. Which Nation would have first call on my obligations to fight?

    The point I am making is that there are more points of issue and allegiance is foremost amongst these as are respective Governments obligations to their citizens.

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  2. I have a daughter with 3 passports because she is entitled to all of them. Born in Australia from parents who are citizens born in 2 other different countries. Her loyalty to Australia will come first. Those are the values we will teach her. I don’t see why we shouldn’t allow people with dual nationality to be politicians, as long as their 2nd nationality isn’t from a hostile nation. There you obviously have a problem. Dastyari is one such problem.

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  3. The never ending saga of Section 44 has undermined the integrity of our government and confidence of public in parliament. Our unity in this wonderful country is further divided! An old favourite saying by a Roman Emperor, “Divide and Conquer”! This is a real threat to our beloved country Australia! We know that it is one of the leftists’ tactic to further undermine Australia. We have seen many events already!

    However, as a reminder, Section 44 is not all about dual citizenships but also four other criteria which are:
    No criminals
    No bankrupts
    Not in receipts of income from the Commonwealth
    Not have any interest in an incorporated company with at least 25 members.

    It was there for a reason!

    It is a matter of clarity not interpretation. The question is why does the parliament need to refer cases off to high court which are full of politically appointed judges? It is nothing but a games. Why is it so clear in the Constitution of Australia that MPs and Senators claims that they do not “understand”? It is so obvious that many of them are ineligible!

    The public rightly demanded a full audit of all past and present MPs and Senators. Both the Prime Minister Turnbull and Leader of the Opposition Shorten will not have it because it is so obvious that they are hiding the fact that many of their constituents may be ineligible!

    Only way to resolve this dilemma is to have a full independent audit and then review all legislations that were voted on by these ineligible MPs and Senators.

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  4. I think it’s all a ruse setup, due to Marxist workings it’s all a cunning work at attempting to undermine the government and it’s also a strategy they will use down the track so as to undermine the Constitution, so that they can push for their Marxist Socialist Republic agenda.
    When they start the republic push I am sure they will kick in all about this point, so as to only further the republic cause, for sure.

    What people should understand is that the Marxist are at war with Australia full on and the cunning of such Satanist is truly a work of art, problem is that the majority are unaware of this type of diabolical monster, that history proves only destroys Nations, enslaves people and attempts to turn all into brainwashed trash, so they are easy to exploit.

    I am a dual citizen and I have every right to be, I never asked to be one and I sure as hell know I am loyal to Australia first and foremost.
    To say that Barnaby Joyce or Malcolm Roberts could be somehow un Australian is insane but if a person was a left wing ranting rat bag well I can understand that such a person would be questionable as to their allegiance for sure.

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  5. This bullshit of course is a confected crisis. Our High Court is compromised by Lefty bias. Prior to 1949 there was no such thing as an Australian citizen, we were all British subjects – if you were born in the British Empire. Ergo, if your parents arrived in Oz from another Empire country & were BRITISH SUBJECTS as defined by Australian legislation of 1920 which followed British law, you were an Australian & British…..

    After 1949 things get a little more complicated. However, we were all British Subjects under Australian Law until 1984. Since very few laws are retrospective, I find it very hard to believe that the High Court could possibly find against ANYONE whose (British) parents arrived prior to 1984.

    Prior to 2002 Australia did not recognise dual citizenship where an Australian citizen would on (choosing to) becoming a citizen of another country would automatically loose their Australian citizenship. Seeing that most or none of the pollies concerned actively took-up any such offer & given the above facts, you can see what a load of abject BULLSHIT this all is & how could the H.Court make the decision it did.

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  6. We need clarity of law and not conflict of law over citizenship.

    We are endlessly preached at by the political elite about our multi-culturalism, diversity etc. There is a large population of naturalised Australians – mostly from the UK who are loyal to this country and respectful of its laws.

    But you can not be respectful of the law unless you are informed of the law.

    Are people who become naturalised citizens of Australia required to give up their citizenship of their country of origin when they take out Australian citizenship? What about children born in Australia of Australian parents who travelled to a foreign country on the passport of a foreign country – eg because the father is a naturalised Australian who did not renounce his citizenship eg the UK and those children entered the UK on UK passports. Are these children now grown, perhaps never having left Australia now ‘not citizens’ of this country?

    Under these laws Australian born children have lost their citizenship.

    If Australia has laws against dual nationality, it must make these laws known to its citizens in clear terms at the time that passports are applied for or at the time naturalisation is sought. This is so that citizens who want to be Australian citizens respecting Australian laws can take proper measures to sort out any irregularities of nationality with the authorities.

    Or is the ploy rather to obfuscate, mis-inform and use the conflict of laws as a trap so that naturalised Australians who were not informed that they had to renounce their citizenship in county of origin or children, one of whose parents might have dual nationality, can be made ‘non-citizens’ at the convenient time.

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