David Leyonhjelm: Who should we elect to represent us?

When the authors of the Australian Constitution were writing the bit about dual citizenship, I’m pretty sure they weren’t thinking about the eligibility of people whose parents were born in Great Britain, Canada or New Zealand, or whose grandparents were born in Ireland. In the late nineteenth century these countries, like Australia, were part of the British Empire.

I am also fairly sure they didn’t intend to prevent someone from sitting in the federal parliament because of an accident of birth, such as their parents being overseas at the time of their birth, or because they were eligible for foreign citizenship due to some historic legal quirk in the foreign country about which they had no knowledge.

What they had in mind was to avoid a situation where someone in the federal parliament owed allegiance to a country with which Australia had a significant conflict. You can imagine them contemplating the possibility of being at war with Russia or Germany, for example, and wanting to ensure there was nobody with Russian or German citizenship sitting in parliament and having to make critical decisions about the war.

However, rather than confirm that S44(1) of our Constitution had such a practical meaning, our High Court has instead decided that it must be read literally. That is, nobody can sit in the federal parliament while being eligible for citizenship of another country, irrespective of how that eligibility was acquired or whether it is even known.

This has led to the absurd situation where Members and Senators are now scrambling to establish whether they are disqualified based on vaguely known family history and the laws of other countries, without so much as a whiff of dual allegiance.

Some of the cases are truly bizarre. For example, Senator Stephen Parry’s ineligibility was due to his father’s UK citizenship. However, if it had been his mother who had migrated from England, or if his parents had never married, there would be no issue regarding eligibility.

Clearly the High Court has delivered an unwise interpretation. However, there is no way to appeal its decisions; ironically, it might help if we could appeal to the Privy Council in London. So it is up to Parliament and the people to fix it. What we should do is amend the Constitution to restore its original meaning.

This is not a matter of politicians being unable to get their house in order. The problem arises at the nomination stage. At the 2016 election, 1,625 candidates nominated. According to the High Court, every one of them should investigate their family tree up to grandparent level, inquire whether they are eligible for citizenship of another country, and renounce it if the answer is yes.

A candidate whose grandparents were born in Nepal, Italy, Greece and Albania but were also citizens of several other countries, and whose parents were born in Scotland and New Zealand but inherited the citizenships of their parents, would potentially have to investigate and potentially renounce a dozen or so citizenships prior to nomination. And if they miss one, the High Court says that’s too bad; being unaware makes no difference.

Given only 226 candidates can be elected, this has profound implications for the diversity of our democracy. Inevitably, potential candidates with multi-ethnic backgrounds will decide it is simply too hard.

A common complaint about politicians is that too many are beige. That is, they have limited experience outside the political bubble and are too blandly similar. This will only get worse if it is unreasonably difficult for those with multi-ethnic backgrounds to participate.

While existing politicians obviously need to comply with the current Constitution as the High Court has interpreted it, more important is the need for a conversation about how it should be changed. Should we allow dual citizens from certain countries, such as New Zealanders? Should genuine dual allegiance be the only grounds for ineligibility? How can we ensure we elect a parliament that reflects both our essential Australian values and our diverse origins? These are issues worthy of a referendum.

David Leyonhjelm is a Senator for the Liberal Democrats

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147 Responses to David Leyonhjelm: Who should we elect to represent us?

  1. Charlie

    End dual citizenship and investigate every dual citizen MP for fraud. Why should we have a government full of foreigners?

  2. BorisG

    I agree David. And solution is simple. Don’t allow those who are actually dual citizens, not simply eligible to be citizens.

    And while we are at it, other provisions of 44 need to be clarified as well.

  3. OneWorldGovernment

    totally agree David.

    That is why I think we should have a referendum about the marriage clause in the constitution.

    I’m sorry, but an indicative poll of those that can be bothered does not make law.

    But if it does then I want a poll to see if Australians agree with GST.

  4. OneWorldGovernment

    Can we also have a poll to see how many folk would vote Greens and should we disband them?

  5. OneWorldGovernment

    and whilst we are about it lets have a poll to get rid of subsidies for wind and solar and whatever other boon doggles the crony socialists are pushing for.

  6. OneWorldGovernment

    If Australia can direct lawmaking by holding a poll every now and then we can surely get rid of most of the parliament, including the senate, and a majority of so called “public servants”.

  7. wal1957

    Agreed.

    But…why oh why has Turdball and his dickhead coalition deadbeats not done the prudent thing and instigated a thorough check of all Honourable, (sarc) members of parliament. This issue will be ongoing into the New Year and old ‘mumbles’ Turdball will still be dithering.

  8. Tom

    This has led to the absurd situation where Members and Senators are now scrambling to establish whether they are disqualified based on vaguely known family history and the laws of other countries, without so much as a whiff of dual allegiance.

    No, David. What is absurd is that people standing for public office are now squealing that “the vibe” of the Constitution is wrong, they know better and the law should be bent to allow them their place at the public trough.

    What is required is that they take the Constitution seriously. No matter how unfashionable they find it.

    Do the hard legal yards, if necessary, to ensure there are no violations or that violations are renounced. As the Constitution allows.

    Anyone who is now arguing that the Constitution is wrong or that its provisions are too stringent is just another lazy freeloader and should be laughed out of town.

    Be humble, David, and remember your political origin as a public servant whose lavish lifestyle was delivered by the donkey vote in 2013.

  9. Texas Jack

    Nonsense. All aspiring pollies need do is check their citizenship status prior to seeking election and the problem solves itself. You can’t know what the future holds or what people may do to game the system. We don’t need a Jacinda Ardern to decide the Beehive is too small-beer.

  10. Diogenes

    Texas Jack,
    It is not so simple, and the situation is even worse than DL posits
    Let us assume your great great grand father was from Iran. Under Iranian citizenship law, you ARE a dual citizen despite the fact no one from your family visiting Iran since 1950, or the fact that nobody has made any contact with the Iranian Embassy since they came to Australia in 1953.

    This is the situation my grandson will face in 23 years should he decide to stand at the first possible date. Is he really a dual citizen ?

  11. entropy

    No, David. What is absurd is that people standing for public office are now squealing that “the vibe” of the Constitution is wrong, they know better and the law should be bent to allow them their place at the public trough.

    This. All this article has revealed is you are just another snout in the trough.

  12. Jim Hutchison

    Sorry Cats

    Careful analysis of the Constitution and the decided cases tells us that my favourite eccentric Senator David L has got it wrong this time. That is fine – he usually gets it right.

    How is he wrong?

    Working through his example from the end

  13. Up The Workers!

    “Finking”, as Bull Shitten calls it, is not the A.L.P.’s strong point – that’s why they hire all those Mensa-types such as Lee Rhiannon, Sarah Halfwit-Bung and Richard III of the Brown Movement to give their Party some intellectual, scientific, economic, trade, industry, power generation, Defence and meteorological policy rigour – which only goes to conclusively prove that “finking” is not the A.L.P.’s strong point..

    The problems being described in this article are exactly what should be expected when the Einsteins of the A.L.P. appoint the lions’ share of our Judges nationwide from amongst the vile ranks of their rank and vile “little maaates”, for whom “finking”, as demonstrated by this decision, is similarly not their strong point..

  14. Sydney Boy

    Spot on, David. Barnaby Joyce’s accidental New Zealand dual-citizenship does not mean that he has divided loyalties between Australia and New Zealand. Sam Dastyari has gone to great pains to renounce his Iranian citizenship, however his deals with China do bring his loyalties into doubt. It is not where someone was born (or where someone’s parents were born) that makes them a good or bad politician or even a good or bad person.

    But with the situation as it is, the Constitution and the literal interpretation by the High Court must be followed, whatever the fall out.

    You want to change a section of the Constitution? How about Section 51 (xxvi) which permits the government to discriminate by race? Upon repeal, all the boondoggles such as Abstudy and other indigenous-only welfare will be unconstitutional.

  15. A Lurker

    This is not a matter of politicians being unable to get their house in order. The problem arises at the nomination stage. At the 2016 election, 1,625 candidates nominated. According to the High Court, every one of them should investigate their family tree up to grandparent level, inquire whether they are eligible for citizenship of another country, and renounce it if the answer is yes.

    Have you ever filled out a Centrelink form? I have. Pages and pages of questions to be answered, delving into the most intimate personal details. An Aussie citizen has to fill it out fully and legally otherwise there are big problems. Ditto with tax returns.

    So if wanna-be politicians can’t be arsed in doing the relevant checks to ensure that they have fulfilled their legal obligations, then frankly they shouldn’t be running for Parliament because such a self-entitled, lazy and lackadaisical attitude might well extend to the reading of important Bills and other legislation too.

  16. A Lurker

    A common complaint about politicians is that too many are beige. That is, they have limited experience outside the political bubble and are too blandly similar. This will only get worse if it is unreasonably difficult for those with multi-ethnic backgrounds to participate.

    Diddums.

  17. feelthebern

    Regardless of who is elected, I’d prefer them to demonstrate they aren’t running scared of the union movement for some non-public reason.
    An example would be voting on legislation, not sitting in ones tax payer funded office eating a tim tam.

  18. A Lurker

    Btw, while we are at it, I would suggest that…

    Section 44(i) of the Constitution states ‘any person who is under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or a citizen of a foreign power’ is ineligible to stand for, or sit in, Federal Parliament.

    …a foreign power would also encompass Globalism, Islam and Communism given that all three ideologies are incompatible (often violently) with Australian values, involve international interests being dominant to Australian interests, and that all three work towards the ascension of International bodies (One World Government, the International Caliphate, and International Communist State) and thus destroy the sovereignty of Australia.

  19. Baldrick

    Here’s a novel idea, instead of politicians whining and whinging about changing OUR Constitution, how’s about they learn to comply with it.

    I don’t give a stuff if politicians have to prove their entitlement to sit in OUR parliament. That should have been done well before they even stepped foot in the joint.

    Suck it up or leave.

  20. Senile Old Guy

    A Lurker:

    So if wanna-be politicians can’t be arsed in doing the relevant checks to ensure that they have fulfilled their legal obligations, then frankly they shouldn’t be running for Parliament because such a self-entitled, lazy and lackadaisical attitude might well extend to the reading of important Bills and other legislation too.

    Exactly. David L’s screed is yet another “cop out” from people who have turned “cop out” into an art form. Obey the f*cking law. The rest of us have to. And if we don’t, we will get fined, imprisoned or both.

    I am thoroughly over lazy politicians crying in their cereal about how hard it is to obey the f*cking law. If they don’t like it, run it through a referendum and get it changed! That’s too hard too! It is supposed to be; so that politicians cannot just make the law do what they want.

  21. Tel

    The writers of our Constitution never intended the Commonwealth to take over medical insurance and education.

  22. manalive

    No, serving in the Australian Parliament is a serious responsibility, too many members appear to treat it merely as a sinecure, besides the ALP claims that all its members have completed the necessary eligibility checks so it can’t be that hard.

  23. “If Australia can direct lawmaking by holding a poll every now and then we can surely get rid of most of the parliament, including the senate, and a majority of so called “public servants”.
    Oneworldgovernment, I suggest you become aware of the political party VOTEFKUX.ORG
    800 years ago the only feasible way to provide representative democracy was to choose representatives who presumably would argue the views of his citizens in the Parliament. In those days, the Internet was not even a fantasy.
    However, in this day and age, it is technically rather easy to allow every interested citizen to have a direct say on each and every Parliamentary decision. By electing a flux member of the house, you could direct that representative to prosecute a case determined directly by those in his electorate who care.

  24. Rohan

    I find it laughable that politicians expect its constituents and businesses to jump through onerous and copious amounts of legal and red tape, yet squeal like stuck pigs when they’re caught not following the same set of rules.

    But should the constituents or businesses fail to comply, even if its an oversight, then they are penalised with the full weight of the law. Politicians feel they are exempt from being held to account.

    Once politicians feel they can circumvent the rule of law, we are in serious trouble. The rot starts at the top.

    Senator, you and your ilk are a complete joke.

  25. Ray

    More drivel from Leyonhjelm. The only reason politicians could ever become embroiled in this citizenship fiasco is through their own incompetence or ignorance. Section 44 is pretty clear, if you have dual citizenship then you are ineligible.

    Surely it is not too much to expect that our elected representatives have the capacity to understand the the law and its impact on themselves. After all, if they cannot determine how a law can affect themselves, how can they possibly maintain this facade that they have the skills and understanding to pass laws affecting the rest of us.

    Section 44 does not prevent anybody from sitting in Parliament. All they need do, is demonstrate that they have pursued reasonable actions to renounce any foreign citizenship they may have held. If a foreign state allows their citizenship to be renounced, then it is reasonable that individuals pursue all actions required by that foreign state. This is how the High Court has interpreted Section 44, and this is not only reasonable but also fair to all concerned.

    Any politician who has been caught up in this issue is simply a victim of their own making. None of us should have sympathy for them and we should certainly not be in the business of amending the constitution to assist the incompetent, the lazy and the ignorant. These are not the individuals we should be encouraging into the Parliament.

  26. Senile Old Guy

    When the authors of the Australian Constitution were writing the bit about dual citizenship, I’m pretty sure…

    One of the most profoundly disturbing things to come out this constitutional problem is how many politicians “know” what the “authors of the Australian Constitution” were, and were not, thinking about. This is a perfect demonstration of their arrogance. Aside from what was recorded, and what was done, we do not know what they were thinking. It is the height of modern arrogance to think that we do.

  27. David, you now epitomise the devil-may-care attitude of most politicians.
    Your argument is full of holes, the most important one being that since it may be difficult to comply with dual citizenship laws, then don’t comply.
    I’d like to have that apply to my taxation laws.

    Simply put, people are sick of politicians making excuses for breaking the law.

  28. Aussieute

    Who should we elect to represent us?

    Certainly not people who sign documents making false claims.
    If a person seeking to stand for Parliament how has no idea of the ramifications of making false claims, cannot be bothered to do some simple due diligence on their family history then they need the book thrown at them and kicked out with a serious fine. Not that you will fine your own.

    Politicians must abide by the Constitution and if you want to change that then go ahead and just try … such a change in S44(1) will be summarily dismissed for what you want. Society has all sorts of rules which we must abide … doctors, vets, psychologists, accountants etc. suck it up you want to be a politician, there is some rules you are required to meet.

    How you do one thing is how you do everything.
    Can’t do the little thing then stuff off if you want to do the big things.

  29. Tel

    However, in this day and age, it is technically rather easy to allow every interested citizen to have a direct say on each and every Parliamentary decision.

    Not if you want to maintain all of:
    * Anonymous secret ballot
    * Impossible to sell your vote or show your vote to others
    * Impossible for others to discover how you voted and apply threat of violence
    * Verifiable counts with no cheating
    * Low cost online system (using machines instead of humans, paperless, etc)

    If you think about it, all the things you want in an election actually conflict with one another. The requirement for secret ballots that cannot be sold also makes it difficult to verify and necessarily destroys the audit trail.

    There’s a long list of things that go wrong here:

    http://www.openvotingconsortium.org/the_problem

    Also a bunch of stuff here:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/End-to-end_auditable_voting_systems

    Turn out our current paper based and human moderated system is actually very hard to beat (if you don’t mind the expense).

  30. Mater

    When the authors of the Australian Constitution were writing the bit about dual citizenship, I’m pretty sure…

    Many, many people are using exactly the same line to push gun control in the US. Arguments about the founding fathers not envisaging Assault Rifles, is just as spurious…and dangerous.

  31. Mc

    David is sounding more like a the rest of them every day. Keep s44 the way it is. Stops them stuffing up this country and then taking their pensions to some other jurisdiction that has not suffered from their wisdom.

  32. Infidel Tiger

    Doesn’t matter what you think they wanted.

    Just obey the damn law.

  33. When the authors of the Australian Constitution were writing the bit about dual citizenship, I’m pretty sure

    A great basis for decision making!
    What a brilliant idea, David L.

  34. Infidel Tiger

    David Leyonhjelm: Who should we elect to represent us?
    Posted on 2:03 am, November 21, 2017 by Rafe Champion

    1. People who have read the constitution
    2. People who can understand it
    3. People who will obey it.

    Pretty simple stuff.

  35. entropy

    Infidel Tiger
    #2560434, posted on November 21, 2017 at 8:07 am
    Doesn’t matter what you think they wanted.

    Just obey the damn law.

    Quite fucking so.
    I hate most politicians, particularly the modern variety, and David is clearly busy demonstrating why. Sit on their massively obscene salaries arguing laws are only for the little people.

    The old “all animals are equal, some are more equal than others.”

  36. Rob

    Of course MPs should have citizenship of Australia alone – how else do you determine that an MP has an untrammelled allegiance to Australia?
    In managing the nomination process, it is the AEC that should be ensuring would be politicians are actually eligible under the terms of the constitution.
    A future defence of ignorance of one’s non-Australian citizenship would rest on the AEC’s approval of the nominee’s eligibility.

  37. Q. Who should we elect to represent us?
    A. Clearly, something different to what we have.

  38. Leo G

    What is required is that they take the Constitution seriously. No matter how unfashionable they find it.

    Taking the Constitution seriously is not to take it literally though.
    The High Court is presently taking the literal road to absurdity, while its apologists seem to argue that the Constitution can be regarded as similtaneously statute law for selective literal interpretation, and judge-made common law when it suits the political purposes of the Parliament and the High Court.

  39. Defender of the faith

    I have to take more effort to obtain a drivers licence than these people take to get into Parliament. If they can’t mabage simple checks then I’m happy to refuse them. In fact I think they owe us money.

  40. Anton

    I am pretty sure the authors of the constitution did not intend for two males to get married and be allowed to “have children”, but the LDP supports this anyway.

    A common complaint about politicians is that too many are beige. 
    I don’t think that is the most common complaint

  41. Dr Sir Major General

    Before April 2002, Australian citizens who became citizens of another country lost their Australian citizenship automatically; let that be the case again. If anyone wish to become Australians he or she should become fully Australian, without any of that wishy-washy retaining of former citizenship.
    I see no reason to amend §44 of the Constitution but would be happy with amendments to those Acts which permit dual citizenship.

  42. Viva

    If single citizenship is such an important benchmark for loyalty why is it only applicable to pollies? A law that throws up the absurdity that Barnaby is a Kiwi and can’t be trusted is truly an ass and the High Court should have so held. Unfortunately Cats are blinded to the commonsense argument put forward above by DL by a mindless literalism fuelled by hatred of the political class.

  43. RobK

    This is not a matter of politicians being unable to get their house in order.
    Yes, it is.
    It is important that law makers are certified Australian only, clearly it always has been. This is not something to water down, especially not for the sake of “diversity”. That would be insane.
    The court decision doesn’t preclude anyone taking the required steps. The fact that more people nominate than are elected is a non-argument too. If you can’t abandon dual nationality because you may not be elected then your loyalty is fairly questionable. This is not a matter of diversity at all.

  44. anonandon

    Taking the Constitution seriously is not to take it literally though.

    The law is to be taken literally. That is why it needs to be so carefully worded. Have you ever been in a contract dispute where every word is taken apart?

  45. I’m a member of the LDP, but I disagree with David on this one. The constitution seems very clear and the investigation should go deeper.

    What about the many ex-politicians, still collecting various pensions and allowances who should never have taken their seat in parliament in the first place? Can we get a refund of their salary and all other payments to them since they were illegally sworn in?

  46. A Lurker

    There are apparently more of them out there…

    Question, how many actual, true-blue, law-abiding Aussies are our elected representatives?

  47. A Lurker

    A common complaint about politicians is that too many are beige.
    I don’t think that is the most common complaint

    It would appear to be an agenda for those who live their lives inside a Regressive echo-chamber.

  48. RobK

    Viva, the law didn’t throw up that Barnaby was a kiwi. He was asked about it when he signed up, he didn’t check. The Pollies didn’t/don’t have their house in order.

  49. Leo G

    I have to take more effort to obtain a drivers licence than these people take to get into Parliament.

    But you only had to avoid scaring one driving test officer. An MP has to avoid scaring a certain majority of electors.

  50. A Lurker

    Viva, a hatred of the political class is something that is well and truly earned by them.
    If the political class want that attitude turned around then they will need to earn our respect.
    That means them abiding by the Law and the Constitution.
    If the rest of us mere plebs have to do it, then so too those who supposedly represent us.

  51. Anton

    Cats are blinded to the commonsense argument put forward above by DL by a mindless literalism fuelled by hatred of the political class.

    The constitution is the only protection we have against the installation of a dictatorship. It absolutely needs to be interpreted literally

  52. entropy

    Hatred of the political class? If that is the same as a visceral contempt for these parasites and all they fail to stand for, then so be it.

  53. MacSpee

    And only God knows when the High Court will interpret the Constitution literally and when it will “move with the times”. What with the “interpretation” that an international treaty can override the express words of the Constitution or the “discovery ” of a right of free political speech the world is their oyster to be opened and devoured at pleasure and leisure.

  54. Leo G

    The law is to be taken literally. That is why it needs to be so carefully worded. Have you ever been in a contract dispute where every word is taken apart?

    If the Constitution is taken literally, no Australian citizen qualifies as an Australian MP.
    The Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act clearly states that sovereignty under the Constitution must also be sovereignty under the Crown of the UK. As far as the UK is concerned and at present, Australia is a foreign power. Accodingly s44 of the Constitution disqualifies Australian citizens from membership of both Houses of the Australian Parliament.

  55. by a mindless literalism fuelled by hatred of the political class.

    Yes. I hate the political class. (I wonder why this is so)

    And anyone who shares a different viewpoint to you is not mindless, they listen to reason.

  56. Viva

    It absolutely needs to be interpreted literally

    Interpreted literally on the basis of when it was written when most residents of oz were British and Australian citizensip didn’t exist?

    The fact is we moved away from a literal interpretation of what constitutes a “foreign power” on the statutory creation of Australian citizenship in the 1940s.

  57. Mc

    Interpreted literally on the basis of when it was written when most residents of oz were British and Australian citizensip didn’t exist?

    If they have a problem with the literal meaning change the constitution, don’t try and project a meaning onto it.

  58. Leo G

    The fact is we moved away from a literal interpretation of what constitutes a “foreign power” on the statutory creation of Australian citizenship in the 1940s.

    Australia came to be internationally recognised as an independent country some time between 1914 and 1945, but our Parliament failed to amend the Constitution Act (not the Constitution itself, which requires alterations to be approved by referendum) to reflect the shift.

  59. Ragu

    If Bananaby is a kiwi, why was he travelling on an Australian passport?

  60. Boambee John

    When the authors of the Australian Constitution were writing the bit about dual citizenship, I’m pretty sure they weren’t thinking about the eligibility of people whose parents were born in Great Britain, Canada or New Zealand

    David,

    I regret to say that Great Britain, Canada or New Zealand (and Australia) are not the same as they were in the 1890s. For that reason, we need to move on in our own way.

    The prime selection criterion should be loyalty to Australia first, last, and all the time. Those who, for whatever reason, have dual citizenships must renounce them to be eligible.

    If they only became aware of their status when checking before running for office, the renunciation should not cause them any heartburn. Those like the ALP member who put off her renunciation for sentimental reasons clearly have divided loyalties, and should not be eligible.

    As well as dual citizenship, divided loyalties can be obvious in other ways. Taking money from foreign governments is one such way. Dastyari and Fitzgibbon should have been expelled from Parliament the moment their payments became public.

  61. Remember those classified ads in newspapers that used to say something like…
    “From such n such a date I will not be responsible for debts incurred in my name etc etc”.

    Do summin’ similar upon nominating for parliament. A facebook post and a tweet should do it.

  62. EvilElvis

    And again as the country burns the ‘freedom’ loving, high priest of the group that is a bastard child born of a misguided, self proclaimed centrist and his closet socialist mistress, jumps on another pathetic topic that will not improve the standards of our wonderful country. Onwards to SSM David! And onwards to open borders! Fucking libertarians…

  63. Infidel Tiger

    If Bananaby is a kiwi, why was he travelling on an Australian passport?

    Same old kiwis. Always cheating.

  64. Ragu

    But it’s a hell of a loophole.

    Can’t stand for parliament, but you can apply for and receive an ID recognised the world over.

  65. NB

    Clearest article on the issue I have yet read. And yes, ‘…more important is the need for a conversation about how it should be changed.’
    Initially members of the Empire were British subjects. Australian citizenship only arose later, in 1949.
    On the face of it, DL’s solution only to exclude those with actual dual citizenship seems viable, though I’d like to know how other like jurisdictions operate, such as Canada and NZ. Personally, I’d like to retain members with actual dual citizenship. Maybe MPs need to declare their origins back 3 generations for transparency purposes. A bit like financial interest disclosure.

    See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_nationality_law .
    In summary (provided by Google):
    1920 : Nationality Act 1920 codified the concept of a British subject, as defined under Australian law, effective 1 January 1921.
    1948 : Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948 created the concept of Australian citizenship, and came into force on 26 January
    1949. Australian citizens continued to also be British subjects.

    The sensible solution probably does not lie within the bounds the HC can stretch to with so divorcing their interpretation from the actual words in the Const. that the HC would be acting like legislators. They are effectively throwing the issue back to the Australian populace to sort out by referendum. Also, the HC would be putting itself into very dangerous territory if it started to act as umpire on who can be in Parliament based on a non-literal interpretation of the Constitution. Can you imagine the fuss an aggrieved political party might create if one of their own were thrown out based on a non-literal interpretation. 1975 all over again!

  66. johanna

    In managing the nomination process, it is the AEC that should be ensuring would be politicians are actually eligible under the terms of the constitution.

    Nope.

    If someone wants to be an MP, we should at least be able to test whether or not they have read the Constitution and made every effort to comply with it. Shuffling it off to the incompetent AEC, which is also the government, is just handing more power over to them.

    As things stand, a candidate has to make a declaration that he/she/it is eligible. Handing that power over to a government agency (the solution always favoured by the Left) is utterly wrong.

  67. Infidel Tiger

    But it’s a hell of a loophole.

    Can’t stand for parliament, but you can apply for and receive an ID recognised the world over.

    No. Australians are legally allowed to be dual citizens, but they can’t sit in parliament if they are.

    This is simple stuff.

  68. Zyconoclast

    DL goes the full our “diversity, multi ethnic will be too beige.” It’s all too hard.

    If it’s too hard, then you will not want to work hard when elected.

    I agree with DL that the High Court has misread the intentions of section 44. Complaining won’t help, have a referendum at the next election. I think it will fail.

  69. Marcus

    One of the most profoundly disturbing things to come out this constitutional problem is how many politicians “know” what the “authors of the Australian Constitution” were, and were not, thinking about. This is a perfect demonstration of their arrogance. Aside from what was recorded, and what was done, we do not know what they were thinking. It is the height of modern arrogance to think that we do.

    No, it’s just common sense. If the founders of the Constitution would have considered Barnaby Joyce or Stephen Parry ineligible because of their so-called “citizenship” then they also would have needed to consider themselves ineligible to serve in our first parliament because, after all, they were all sons of Britannia.

    That being said, I’ve said before on here that we should amend section 44 at a referendum, but I’ve softened a bit on that. We should just sack the idiot judges on the High Court instead, or at least test them to make sure they’re still thinking people instead of robot doubles.

    That would actually explain a lot.

  70. sisypus

    Why all the fuss? If the politicians are too stupid or arrogant to check, and comply with the requirements, throw them out and make them pay the expense they have caused the nation.

  71. Zatara

    If Bananaby is a kiwi, why was he travelling on an Australian passport?

    Can’t stand for parliament, but you can apply for and receive an ID recognised the world over.

    Yep, and he could apply for and receive a Kiwi one just as easily. Which is the issue.

  72. sisypus

    Why all the fuss? If the politicians are too stupid or arrogant to check, and comply with the requirements, throw them out and make them pay the expense they have caused the nation.

  73. johanna

    Well, Marcus, why not put it to the people in the form of a constitutional amendment?

    Politicians are always very quick to seek solutions to their own problems. What a pity they don’t apply the same standards to the problems of their constituents.

  74. Joe

    If the founders of the Constitution would have considered Barnaby Joyce or Stephen Parry ineligible because of their so-called “citizenship” then they also would have needed to consider themselves ineligible to serve in our first parliament because, after all, they were all sons of Britannia.

    But they didn’t because NZ and GB were part of the EMPIRE and so was AUS, so they wouldn’t be considered ineligible. It’s only since we created the concept of dual citizenship that the problem arises. Back then, you were a citizen of ONE country only.

  75. Marcus

    Well, Marcus, why not put it to the people in the form of a constitutional amendment?

    Politicians are always very quick to seek solutions to their own problems. What a pity they don’t apply the same standards to the problems of their constituents.

    Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’d be perfectly happy to see a referendum on this and I’d be all for a sensible amendment.

    How ironic that we’re expelling all of these “foreigners” from Parliament while at the same time mourning that Aussie rock legend Malcolm Young, who was born in Scotland along with Angus Young and Bon Scott in Australia’s most iconic rock band!

  76. .

    DL is wrong – the constitution MUST be interpreted literally.

    He makes a good point – that needs to change. If a part-Aboriginal isn’t Australian, then who is?

    Can claim native title, can’t run for Parliament? LOL!

    We need a referendum.

    I can’t figure this stuff out. I am an Australian citizen but I am also a “British subject by descent”. I could agree to never being allowed to sit in Parliament.

    As for Ireland, New Zealand and Italy eternally damning would be politicians to inherited citizenship – nonsense.

  77. Joe

    How ironic that we’re expelling all of these “foreigners” from Parliament while at the same time mourning that Aussie rock legend Malcolm Young, who was born in Scotland along with Angus Young and Bon Scott in Australia’s most iconic rock band!

    Yes because being a rock star is SO like being responsible for the laws and function of society.

  78. Jim Hutchison

    Sorry Cats

    My desktop Mac and Sinc’s website have difficulty talking to each other.

    My reasons for thinking that Senator L (L) has strayed from his normally clear grasp of reality are as follows:

    1. L makes some inaccurate assumptions about what was in the minds of the men (no women were involved) who attended the various constitutional conventions. These are set out in his first 3 paragraphs. The debates and discussions of the delegates to the several conventions are well reported in quite accessible places including the internet. The delegates studied much material including the US constitution and the electoral legislation of the British parliament. It is fair to summarise the issue which is dealt with in Sect 44(i) as the ‘the prevention of conflict(s) between the personal interest of a federal lawmaker arising from that lawmaker’s actual or potential “citizenship” of another country and the duty of that lawmaker to have the best interests of all Australians in mind when researching, discussing and drafting federal laws.’

    2. L then applied his assumptions to the current Canberra follies and concluded that the High Court got it wrong:
    “However, rather than confirm that S44(1) of our Constitution had such a practical meaning, our High Court has instead decided that it must be read literally. That is, nobody can sit in the federal parliament while being eligible for citizenship of another country, irrespective of how that eligibility was acquired or whether it is even known.”

    3. Some curious implications flow:

    First, L, who belongs to a group calling itself ‘Liberal and Democratic’, is happy for the High Court to rewrite Sect 44(i) with up to date words. That is not legally possible. The Australian Constitution is amended by referendum according to the rules set out in Sect 128 of the Constitution. The High Court has no jurisdiction to amend the Constitution. When it sits as the Court of Disputed Returns the High Court applies the rules as found in the Constitution and the decided cases.

    Secondly, if L is proposing to amend the Constitution by referendum then he needs to remind himself of the words of Sect 128 which require a Bill to be passed by an absolute majority of both Houses and then to be submitted to the voters within 6 months. If a majority of people in a majority of states and a majority of people across the nation as a whole vote ‘yes’ (called a double majority), then the proposal to amend the Constitution is agreed to. Otherwise the Constitution remains unchanged.

    Since 1906, when the first referendum was held, Australia has held 19 referendums in which 44 separate questions to change the Australian Constitution have been put to the people. Only eight changes have been agreed to. L should take a look at some history to see what items passed and what items failed.

    [I have skipped over the deadlock procedure which comes into play if one House fails to deliver an absolute majority.]

    4. My further suggestion is that L study (again) some case law including – Sykes v Cleary (1992),
    Re Roberts [2017] HCA 39, and
    Re Canavan
    Re Ludlam
    Re Waters
    Re Roberts [No 2]
    Re Joyce
    Re Nash
    Re Xenophon
    [2017] HCA 45

    Taken together, L will see eleven worked examples of the application of Sect 44(i). These are just the most recent examples.

    5. L might reflect on the fact that several current members and senators were able to understand the issue and act accordingly. The list includes Tony Abbott in the Reps and Senators Abetz, Cormann, Dastyari and
    Steele-John.

    6. Finally, L might also reflect on the fact that the first Australian Prime Minister who did not have a dual citizen connection was Sir Robert Menzies. All 16 Prime Ministers who served from 1901 to 1968 had a dual citizenship connection.

  79. Marcus

    But they didn’t because NZ and GB were part of the EMPIRE and so was AUS, so they wouldn’t be considered ineligible. It’s only since we created the concept of dual citizenship that the problem arises. Back then, you were a citizen of ONE country only.

    Exactly. If dual citizenship wasn’t even a concept back then (let alone inherited dual citizenship) then why has the High Court taken a literal reading of an old document to apply to a modern concept, instead of applying a little common sense and asking questions like, “What is a true foreign power to Australia?” “What does ‘allegiance’ to a foreign power look like?” “Would the founders of the Constitution have regarded these cases as being foreigners?” “Would a ‘reasonable person’ consider them to be foreigners?” “Would plunging Australia into chaos for no good reason violate the First Law, and could we override it in these circumstance?”

    You know, stuff like that.

    Instead, they just read a document, outsourced (or uploaded) their own judgement and interpretive powers to the mainframe under the Chief Scientist’s office, and plunged Australia into chaos because they were either lazy or poorly programmed. Either way, it’s hard to argue that they were burning the midnight oil on this one to earn their six-figure salaries.

    One final thought – if there truly is a foreign power out there that wants to see Australia harmed, are they more likely to be pleased or disappointed by the turmoil in the Australian parliament that these judges have caused?

    They’ve unarguably done more damage to our country than Barnaby Joyce or Stephen Parry or the otheres have done just by turning up.

  80. .

    The debates and discussions of the delegates to the several conventions are well reported in quite accessible places including the internet.

    Yeah, but everyone does it. Posted a couple of days ago:

    See Cole v Whitfield. (Emphasis is mine).

    (NSW) Bar News 9 1989 (Summer)

    Sir Garfield Barwick:

    “Yes, I have read it. They’ve got a magnificent remark in that the Constitution might provide the text but not the test, so they proceed to say that what they were worried about at Federation was protection for free trade and what they were intending is that interstate trade should be relatively free ….but they said absolutely free so you don’t take any notice of the text. You find the test is whether the law is passed from a protectionist point of view. It’s really laughable. I’d have great fun appealing from that with the Privy Council. Dear me, it’s terrible tosh, you know.

    That is a remarkable sentence when you analyse it; the Constitution might provide the text but not the test. Very sad(!)

  81. Senile Old Guy

    Would plunging Australia into chaos for no good reason…

    Hysterical rambling. The country is hardly in chaos. For one thing, much of what goes on is run by State and Territory governments and those are still in power and functioning (to the extent that they do).

    You can argue with the High Court’s decision but it has decided that several politicians were ineligible to be elected, or, in fact, to even nominate for election. If people disagree with the Constitution, or the High Court’s interpretation, get it changed. Until then, it is the law; obey it.

  82. Boambee John

    Lurker at 0632

    frankly they shouldn’t be running for Parliament because such a self-entitled, lazy and lackadaisical attitude might well extend to the reading of important Bills and other legislation too.

    Many years ago I had to draft a response to a complaint to the Minister from an ALP MHR about the adverse effect on some of his vonstituents. My boss refused to include the paragraph pointing out that not only had the offending legislation been introduced under an ALP government, but said MHR had been a minister in that government, but was now clearly demonstrating his ignorance of legislation he had supported.

    Some bosses got no sense of humour!

  83. H B Bear

    Section 44 is doing God’s work in this rabble of a Parliament.

  84. Terry

    A common complaint about politicians is that too many are beige.

    I think a common complaint is that they’re a slightly browner colour than beige, unless they’ve been left in the sun for a few days.

  85. Botswana O'Hooligan

    And if your aunty had balls she would be your uncle. The senator opines that having to go as far back as your grandparents to check your citizenship status is onerous, but after having worked for the so called public service for the last twelve years of my working life, I can comfortably state that those people, the good senator included, would go as far back as Tutankhamun to check whether they were entitled to a lurk or a perk.

  86. Louis

    It turns out that what this matter has exposed most David, is the attitude of Federal politicians to believe that the laws are only for the little people. That they see parliament as nothing more than their turn at the perks trough, with party favours for mates whenever in control of government.

  87. Siltstone

    Infidel Tiger
    #2560437, posted on November 21, 2017 at 8:22 am

    Who should we elect to represent us?

    1. People who have read the constitution
    2. People who can understand it
    3. People who will obey it.

    Pretty simple stuff.

    As Infidel Tiger says, pretty simple stuff. But just too hard for some dummies who nominate to run in elections. Any elected should be weeded out and pay back salaries, plus interest. Even DL is not up to understanding the clear language of s44, sad.

  88. Anton

    Interpreted literally on the basis of when it was written

    No, it has been interpreted on the basis of the language it was written in (English).

  89. Leigh Lowe

    When the authors of the Australian Constitution were writing the bit about dual citizenship, I’m pretty sure they weren’t thinking about ….

    … fly-by-night Senators trying to spin their words a century later.

  90. Joe

    44. Any person who –

    (i.) Is under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or citizen of a foreign power: or

    That’s what’s got them all of a lather, now that the SC says obey the letter of the law.
    How do they get their millions if not by foreign investment.

  91. Cumborah

    I think the current rules are fine. If you are representing Australia then you should clearly have no ties to another country. If you feel you don’t want to renounce possible ties then you are not the best person for our Parliament. At all times you have to put our country first.

  92. .

    Cumborah

    I cannot renounce my ties – I am a British subject by descent. This is not like citizenship which can be renounced, AFAIK.

  93. Joe

    I cannot renounce my ties – I am a British subject by descent.

    Then you don’t get to play. Simples.

  94. Ragu

    Then you don’t get to play. Simples.

    But hey, have a passport.

  95. Joe

    But hey, have a passport.

    Of course. Still a citizen of Aus. Just not able to run for parliament. How about you become a public servant and really run the country instead of pretending like a politician.

  96. Anton

    What else might have been “on the minds of the authors of the constitution”?

    Section 48 of the Consitution which determined that all members of the
    Parliament would receive an ‘allowance’ of 400 pounds per annum, until the Parliament decided
    otherwise.

    Did they intend for the basic income of a politician to be 3 times the national average, going up to 10 times for the prime minister?

  97. .

    The rules should change, if your application is correct Joe.

    I am an Australian citizen. I was born here. I have ancestry going back to 1820 (arrival in Sydney).

    Yet if I was born a little later, I wouldn’t be a subject by descent, but I could apply to become a British citizen – not automatic.

    If I was born in England, I could be naturalised and then run for Parliament.

    AFAIK I cannot renounce my uncommon status which just lets me get a British passport but NOT British citizenship.

    The problem is that Australians are bound to foreign law, as we were when we were a colonial dominion of the empire.

    What I have basically is a right of return to the UK but not automatic UK citizenship.

    There will be a shitstorm if all ((((Red Sea Pedestrians))) are then banned from running for Parliament.

    A more loopy interpretation would doubly ban me as a Catholic.

  98. Roger

    There is nothing bizarre or absurd about this matter David, except, that is, that supposedly intelligent people, knowing they had parents born abroad, have not inquired into their citizenship status with all due diligence as the law requires. Every day this government, through laws passed by these same parliamentarians, requires ordinary Australians, some of them barely literate, to fill out forms which have a penalty of a fine or imprisonment attached for providing false information, and that on matters of much less consequence than sitting in parliament and passing laws for fellow Australians. I have not a slither of sympathy for any MP caught up in this and neither, I suspect, do a majority of Australians.

  99. .

    Roger
    #2560697, posted on November 21, 2017 at 12:06 pm
    There is nothing bizarre or absurd about this matter David

    Really?

    If I can’t run for Parliament because of my legal inheritance which is effectively a right of return without automatic citizenship, you don’t think there would be anything bizarre about banning (((Red Sea Pedestrians))) from Parliament?

    Unless someone is going to tell me having a passport of a particular country means you are not entitled to reside there.

  100. Joe

    The rules should change, if your application is correct Joe.

    I am an Australian citizen. I was born here. I have ancestry going back to 1820 (arrival in Sydney).

    It’s now Australia’s fault that GB refuses to let its emigrants go? I would have thought that once out the door, don’t come back, except to visit would be the case – as happens to most emigrants.

  101. .

    Australia lets other nations dictate our laws. That is why Barnaby being punted was absurd.

  102. StrayanDrongo

    Oh well then, we should all just shut up then I guess…. David’s FAIRLY SURE what was in the mind of the people that wrote our constitution, nuff said…. come on Davis, you’re better than that.

    Even if it is the case that they didnt have the Commonwealth nations in mind when writing this rule, our MP’s signed a clause and turns out they lied. If they didn’t agree with the constitution then they should have tried to change it, not just ignore it.

  103. Anton

    Australia lets other nations dictate our laws

    No it doesn’t. You can formally renounce any ties and the high court would be happy. Just like Barnaby has done, at least on his second attempt.

  104. Joe

    None of this would be happening if the politicians hadn’t bought the multi-national bullshit. Dual citizenships and entitlements can be legislated away and attempts to take up entitlements after holding office could have been made offences. This might have saved the day.

  105. Ragu

    Of course. Still a citizen of Aus. Just not able to run for parliament.

    Way to miss the point. Sorry to ramble on like a Struthian, but it seems a bit weird that a ‘non-citizen’ can get a document from the Australian government that identifies them as being Australian when they land air-side at Frankfurt, yet the High Court has recently adjudicated that an MP may owe allegiance to another country and is therefore are not a true citizen.

    Can you see the problem here?

  106. Joe

    Can you see the problem here?

    No. It’s like everything in life. I’d love to be a rock star, but alas, no talent. You want to be the PM, but alas, not entitled due to the rules. So sad.

  107. .

    Anton
    #2560715, posted on November 21, 2017 at 12:22 pm
    Australia lets other nations dictate our laws

    No it doesn’t. You can formally renounce any ties and the high court would be happy. Just like Barnaby has done, at least on his second attempt.

    Please walk me through how I do this – I am a “British subject by descent” on my father’s side.

    (My inkling is that it can’t be done).

    Now tell me how we deal with candidates and Parliamentarians who have a right of return to Israel; or why applying this literally (as the constitution ought to be) isn’t a huge problem.

  108. Senile Old Guy

    …yet the High Court has recently adjudicated that an MP may owe allegiance to another country and is therefore are not a true citizen.

    Can you see the problem here?

    Yes, you are not reporting accurately. The HC did not rule that the MP was not a “true citizen” but that they were not eligible to be elected to parliament. There are a range of other conditions which render citizens ineligible to be elected.

  109. Tel

    AFAIK I cannot renounce my uncommon status which just lets me get a British passport but NOT British citizenship.

    So you are not entitled to the rights and privileges of a citizen then.

    But if you are worried then apply for dual British / Australian citizenship and see what they say. If they give it to you then renounce it… job’s done.

  110. Joe

    There are a range of other conditions which render citizens ineligible to be elected.

    Criminality, bankruptcy,…

  111. Ragu

    No. It’s like everything in life. I’d love to be a rock star, but alas, no talent. You want to be the PM, but alas, not entitled due to the rules. So sad.

    Moron.

  112. Ragu

    that they were not eligible to be elected to parliament

    And why were they ineligible?

  113. Boambee John

    It should be a requirement of Standing Orders, until it can be inserted in the Constitution, that members of Parliament can vote on legislation ONLY if they have read both the Bill and an Explanatory Memorandum that explains the purpose of the Bill, and how it will achieve that purpose.

    Parliament should sit for no more than 50 days in any year.

    That should reduce the numbers of pages of legislation that can be passed annually.

  114. Ragu

    Explanatory Memorandum that explains the purpose of the Bill, and how it will achieve that purpose.

    The title of a Bill must be relevant to its contents.

    Your argument is lowest common denominator stuff. ‘I can’t be fucked reading it. Can someone tell me what it says?’

  115. Snoopy

    How can we ensure we elect a parliament that reflects both our essential Australian values and our diverse origins? These are issues worthy of a referendum.

    Great idea! Let’s bundle it with referendum questions on a republic, outlawing Commonwealth welfare payments and the right to bear arms.

  116. .

    Seriously.

    Australian MPs with “Israeli ancestry” might be the catalyst to change this. How does one renounce the right of return?

  117. DM OF WA

    How does this sanctimonious windbag find the free time to write so much?

    I like judges who adopt an unimaginitively literal black-letter interpretation of the law. I hate judges who creatively reimagine laws according to their own prejudices and feelings.

    If there is a “problem” with the law then it is up to politicians to fix it or go to a referendum if they want to change the constitution.

    The current debacle has occurred because Australian republican politicians tried to mess with citizenship laws back in the nineties and did not bother to think through the consequences. The current mess was forseeable – there were even some earlier court cases.

    The real problem here is that many politicians believe that laws should not apply to them!

  118. .

    If Parliament doesn’t sit, it is a good thing. Besides, how can a citizenship act alter part of the constitution?

  119. cynical1

    If these idiots are so slack.

    Change the idiots, not the rules.

  120. .

    cynical

    Keep in mind that I maintain the constitution ought to be literally interpreted.

    If I am ineligible, then so are Australian MHRs and Senators of “Israeli descent”.

    This might turn into a complete and utter dogfuck.

  121. Anton

    .

    Please walk me through how I do this – I am a “British subject by descent” on my father’s side.

    Ask Barnaby, or John Alexander. It looks like a small token effort is enough for the high court, but doing nothing other than whinge looks to be insufficient.

    Simples!

    If S44 is keeping you out of parliament it is working just fine

  122. .

    Ask Barnaby, or John Alexander. It looks like a small token effort is enough for the high court, but doing nothing other than whinge looks to be insufficient.

    Simples!

    So simple that you don’t even know what your talking about? Thanks.

  123. .

    Okay that was easy

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/526915/Form_RN_06-2016.pdf

    NOW HOW DO “ISRAELIS BY DESCENT” GIVE UP THE RIGHT OF RETURN?

    Well, they can apply, but the Israeli govt. can also turn them down and they can’t renounce if they spend too much time in Israel.

    What if you’re not a practicing religious type?

    “What is a J e w”

    This is in need of reform.

  124. .

    That is Israeli citizenship. As the right of return is part of the basic law – I’m not sure if it can be done.

  125. Boambee John

    Ragu at 1244

    I said read BOTH. I wasn’t aiming to make it easier for them by reading only the Memorandum, but making it harder by requiring they read both.

    Reading both would also show any inconsistencies between the Bill and the Memorandum, where the public servants hide the detailed implications by not putting them in the Memorandum.

  126. Dr Fred Lenin

    Anyone but a career politician ,ipa lawyer,a party hack ,a corrupt union p]official .thst eliminates most of them ,a gangrene a communist academic or journalist ,or a convicted criminal . There are probably others who should not be elected ,am I a cynic ?
    I wonder.

  127. Ragu

    A cynic?

    I thought you were a tankyard

  128. Anton

    .

    How is it that Barnaby has managed to sort out his issues without too much trouble, but everything is just to hard for you?

    Hypothetically, if the Queen/British parliament granted australians a one time only opportunity to sever all ties with Britain forever, including their children, would you take it?

    The Israel issue is relevant, especially for those that travel there because they can be called for military service, even to fight against Australia . This might look improbable today, but the constitution must work for an indefinite time into the future

    There is no problem with s44, it is working as intended and in accordance with the beliefs of most australians

  129. .

    I just showed you how to do it. The issue is I shouldn’t have to do it at all.

    I didn’t even know what my legal status was until a couple of days ago. Universities don’t even discuss these matters in their constitutional law subjects (they might now).

    There is no problem with s44, it is working as intended and in accordance with the beliefs of most australians

    The writers and commenters on this blog are a minority on most matters. I highly doubt most Australians want white native-born Australians without dual citizenship to be ineligible to run for Parliament, nor do you.

    The idea that they don’t want anyone of J e w ish descent to run for Parliament is absurd. Let alone part Aboriginal Australians who can make native title claims.

    The constitution should always be applied literally. The YES vote on changing s 44 would win in a doddle.

  130. Siltstone

    Dot at 11:55am
    I cannot renounce my ties – I am a British subject by descent. This is not like citizenship which can be renounced
    Dot at 1:42pm
    Okay that was easy
    (statement made upon finding an on-line link to simple form allowing a Britich Subject to relinquish that status)

    Having clearly demonstrated that its not so hard for a budding politician to comply with s44 after all, please tell if you are now going to run for Federal parliament?

  131. Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    I nominate Mother Mary McKillop. She is an Australian, AND a saint, which are necessary qualities in Australia’s Parliament these days.

  132. .

    Siltstone

    No, but I don’t even know if I am ineligible.

    What do you think?

  133. Infidel Tiger 2.0 (Premium Content Subscribers Only)

    No, but I don’t even know if I am ineligible.

    What do you think?

    Are you 18?

  134. Siltstone

    Dot, if you dont want to run for parliament, then the question of eligibility is irrelevant and you can devote your energies elsewhere!

  135. .

    Speaking of eligibility: who appointed Barton to the High Court?

  136. BorisG

    Your argument is full of holes, the most important one being that since it may be difficult to comply with dual citizenship laws, then don’t comply.

    No that is not what he is arguing. In fact he encourages all of them to comply. But he also advocates that the laws need to change. Not only because it is sometimes near impossible to comply, but because, more importantly, it serves no purpose.

    By all means disallow those who are explicitly dual citizens but not those whose grandfather was born in NZ. Australians can be foreign spies without holding foreign citizenship.

  137. Kneel

    “None of this would be happening if the politicians hadn’t bought the multi-national bullshit.”

    Just so. IF the constitution made sense at the time and even the HC would have allowed say Joyce to sit, and laws were later passed that made it a non-sense, while the appropriate sections of the constitution didn’t change, then the problem was created by politicians. It can therefore be fixed by changing or repealing the laws that cause the problem. No change to the constitution is required, right?

    The real question is: if you provided false information to the AEC regarding your eligibility to stand for election, why have you not been penalised?
    Because you weren’t aware of the law? No excuse for us plebs, and even more inexcusable in one attempting to create and/or otherwise change the law!
    Because you weren’t aware of the problem? Then surely you could have signed something similar to “I have investigated and as far as I am able to determine, I do not have any such rights and privileges. I hereby formally renounce my right to any and all such rights and privileges that currently exist or that may exist in the future”. Surely a solicitor could advise on appropriate wording that they feel would satisfy the HC that you have at least tried to satisfy the provisions as much as any reasonable person could expect you to.

  138. amortiser

    The Law of Unintended Consequences strikes again. In order to strike a blow against the cultural heritage of this country, the Hawke government changed the citizenship act in 1986 which fundamentally altered the status of a large proportion of this country’s citizens. The term “British Subjects” became a thing of the past and voila here we are with most of those affected by the provisions of S44 being British subjects.

    Well bad luck!!

    I don’t give much credence to David’s whinge. The Constitution is the fundamental law of this land. It is the law which governs those who make and interpret the laws. It is not an insignificant document.

    Anyone nominating for the parliament receives a document from the Electoral Commission outlying the eligibility requirements. The first item on that document is compliance with S44 of the constitution. Being able to read should be a requirement added to the list!!

    When elected to parliament, these people take on an awesome responsibility yet few have ever bothered to read the law under which they derive the powers that they have. Most regard it as not the law but an administrative inconvenience interfering with their ability to do all the things they would like.

    Is it any wonder that respect for politicians is plumbing new depths?

  139. .

    Amortiser

    Is anyone subject to the Law of Return, or Australian citizens who are British subjects by descent, eligible or not?

    If it is that easy to figure out, that is.

  140. Bob of Brisbane

    There are four members of Parliament who should be concerned about their citizenship under s44: Josh Frydenberg, Jason Falinski, Mark Dreyfus and Michael Danby.
    As I understand it, S44 states in simple terms: … any person who is entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or citizen of a foreign power shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives …
    According to Wikipedia, because (if) they are Jews, “Within three months of arriving in Israel under the Law of Return, immigrants automatically receive Israeli citizenship unless they explicitly request not to.” This is an entitlement. The term “immigrant” is not clearly defined and can be construed as applying to a person who travels to another country and stays for a period.
    On the basis of this, the cases of all four should be referred to the High Court.
    Why are they never mentioned? Do they have some special privilege?

  141. Sinclair Davidson

    In response to the questions about Jewish members of parliament.

    Israels law of return allows all Jews to migrate to Israel and to become Israeli citizens – but in order to do so, they must actually migrate first. As far as I’m aware none of the Jewish MPs have migrated to Israel or have expressed a desire to do so. Therefore they are not Israeli citizens – they can become Israeli citizens but are not yet citizens. As such they are not covered by s44. (See Jeremy Gans on twitter for a long series of tweets on this point).

  142. .

    Sinclair – you know me, obviously I don’t want Jewish MPs kicked out of Parliament. I think the rule should change because the constitution ought to be applied literally.

    S 44 says:

    (i.) Is under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or citizen of a foreign power: or

    That is the section I believe is the most troublesome and ambiguous.

    Therefore they are not Israeli citizens – they can become Israeli citizens but are not yet citizens.

    Is that equivalent to a British subject?

  143. .

    Comment in moderation. Sinc seems away so I will censor:

    Sinclair – you know me, obviously I don’t want Chewish MPs kicked out of Parliament. I think the rule should change because the constitution ought to be applied literally.

    S 44 says:

    (i.) Is under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject (or citizen) of a foreign power:

    That is the section I believe is the most troublesome and ambiguous.

    Therefore they are not Israeli citizens – they can become Israeli citizens but are not yet citizens.

    Is that equivalent to a British subject? I am a British subject by descent, yet an Australian citizen and I am unsure about my status.

    Can the right under the Law of Return even be renounced? All I know is that Israeli citizenship can be renounced – but the right under the Law of Return, can that be renounced?

    I have read Jeremy Gans’ twitter and he seems to disagree, but not much explanation as to why.

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