The ultimate revenge of Pistol & Boo
September 22, 2017 5:36 AM   Subscribe

Australia's parliament is in the grip of the world's most ridiculous constitutional crisis. The situation threatens the country's democratic process, which is reason enough for politicians and courts to work to unpick it. More importantly, though, it raises questions the rest of the world would do well to ponder.

Section 44 of the Australian constitution disqualifies from parliament anyone "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". In the space of 6 weeks, seven members of parliament, including three cabinet ministers, either resigned or referred themselves to the High Court having discovered they were unwittingly citizens of other countries. The case took another turn today when one of the seven was found by the High Court to not have taken adequate steps to renounce his British citizenship.

Inevitably, questions are being raised about the validity of laws on which the seven had voted, and official decisions that they had taken. Calls were made for parliamentarians to pay back their salaries and allowances, and for government ministers to stand aside or resign, but the ruling Liberal-National Coalition resisted, not least because they only have a one-seat majority in the lower house.

How can you not know you're a citizen of another country? Well, like section 44's first victim, Senator Scott Ludlam, (previously) you might have been born elsewhere and neglect to check whether you ever renounced your original citizenship. Or you might get caught out because the country of your birth changed the law and made you a citizen without your knowledge. Maybe your mum registered you as a citizen and never told you. You might have citizenship by descent, or you might have renounced citizenship from one foreign-born parent but not the other.

As Justice Keane put it in today's ruling in the case of Senator Malcolm Roberts, feelings of self-identification with a country do not equate to an a legal entitlement to be accepted by that country as a citizen. But section 44 raises important questions: is a constitution drafted before the notion of citizenship existed still workable for a country where nearly half the population was born overseas or has a parent born overseas? What does it mean to be a citizen of a country you've never lived in? What duty of care does a country own to those born within its borders?

To end on a lighter note, Pistol and Boo (previously) must surely agree that revenge is a dish best served cold.
posted by girlgenius (59 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
 
As I understood it, a recent amendment to New Zealand law gives Australian citizens the right to live, study or work there and are thus entitled to the rights and privileges of a subject of New Zealand.

So that would mean that no one can serve in Australia's parliament?
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:55 AM on September 22 [11 favorites]


is a constitution drafted before the notion of citizenship existed still workable for a country where nearly half the population was born overseas or has a parent born overseas?

Clearly not. In fact, as Australians were British subjects rather than Australian citizens until 1948, the definition of "foreign power" in section 44 could reasonably be interpreted as meaning anyone who wasn't a British subject (if not, then every Australian MP before 1948 was surely illegitimate). Of course, if we allow that, then it means that Australians who aren't Australian/British dual citizens should be ineligible to stand for parliament, which leaves the field clear for those of us who are.

Vote 1 rory.
posted by rory at 5:58 AM on September 22 [6 favorites]


So let's get this straight... all you hafta do, to get rid of any member of Australia'a parliament, is to buy them some papers from the Principality of Sealand, whether they know about it or not?
posted by elizilla at 6:24 AM on September 22 [23 favorites]


As I understood it, a recent amendment to New Zealand law gives Australian citizens the right to live, study or work there and are thus entitled to the rights and privileges of a subject of New Zealand.

So that would mean that no one can serve in Australia's parliament?


Umm, that doesn't mean New Zealand made them citizens though? My Austrian nationality doesn't make me French, German, Portuguese, Bulgarian, Danish or anything else, even though I have almost-equal rights to citizens when I go to any of those countries.

But it does sound like a neat hack! What if some random foreign government decided to give all Australian MPs citizenship...
posted by wachhundfisch at 6:25 AM on September 22


Goodness. I once tried to look up whether my father has citizenship in his parents' birth country, and it turns out to be a *really*, *really* complicated question. My grandparents were stateless when my dad was born, but their birth country eventually reinstated their citizenship and gave citizenship to any children they had when they were stateless. Their birth country then revoked my grandparents' citizenship when they became naturalized American citizens. However, my dad has American citizenship by birth, and so I don't think he ever had his citizenship in his parents' birth country revoked. But there's a complication due to the fact that my grandparents were on the run when they got married, and I don't think there's any official record of their marriage. (And I am actually not 100% sure they were ever legally married.) And there's a whole separate set of rules for people born out of wedlock. And when I asked my dad about it, he said that he didn't want to be a citizen of that shitty country anyway, and it had never occurred to him to look up whether he was. (He did not actually call the country shitty. But he doesn't want to be a citizen of it.) I'm pretty sure that I don't have citizenship by descent, but I haven't actually checked.

This just seems like an enormous mess, given the complexities of global citizenship law in the modern world.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:29 AM on September 22 [11 favorites]


Now I'm imagining a sitcom where various foreign powers "citizenship-bomb" all of Parliament except for one back-bencher whose name they spelled wrong, and in the single day when he's the only person in all of the government, he passes a fuckton of crazy laws.

"No, I can't drive today. It's no-men-on-the-roads-Tuesday, remember?"

"Yes, we are a restaurant, but since the front door faces northeast, we are required to have a bounce house."

"Lydia, we've been over this. Coffee is legally a fruit now, but that does not mean you get to have it in your lunch, because you are seven."
posted by Etrigan at 6:30 AM on September 22 [60 favorites]


Etrigan, along similar lines, the new series of Designated Survivor starts in just 5 days on Netflix.
posted by biffa at 6:34 AM on September 22 [1 favorite]


So all a hostile foreign power has to do to cause havoc with the legitimacy of Australia's government is to grant a bunch of them ciizenship?
posted by Zalzidrax at 6:36 AM on September 22 [2 favorites]


wachhundfisch> Umm, that doesn't mean New Zealand made them citizens though?
No. But according to the FPP, Section 44 covers those
> entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or citizen of a foreign power
so it doesn't have to make them citizens.

And, as rory says, the definition of "foreign power" seems a bit open to interpretation in this context.

What fun.
posted by merlynkline at 6:42 AM on September 22 [2 favorites]


I think it would be a blessed relief for all if Barnaby Joyce had to bugger off back to New Zealand.
posted by drnick at 6:50 AM on September 22 [4 favorites]


Yes, that's what I was getting at.
They do not have the rights of citizens (because they can't vote in New Zealand) but they have the rights of subjects (because they have full freedom to live, work and study there).
They don't need to be citizens, just be entitled to those rights.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 6:50 AM on September 22


I remember when Greens MP Larissa Waters resigned, I heard her on the radio very emotionally explaining what happened. Someone brought it to her attention, and she knew she had to step down, there was still so much she wanted to do... her voice was breaking but she was holding it together. I felt sorry for her because it seemed like such a silly thing. There's no way she's a spy infiltrating our government for a foreign power. It was ridiculous, but those are the rules.

Of course Bananarby Joyce had a little gloat and a chuckle on the wireless, talking about how inept the Greens are, they can't even screen their people. Hopeless!

Then it was his turn. He hasn't shown a fraction of the integrity of Larissa Waters. He's just not going to follow the rules. He's carrying on as if the rules don't matter for him. Let the high court sort it out.

I don't really have much confidence in the high court right now, after they ruled the marriage equality plebiscite counted as an unforeseen expense for budgetary purposes. It's hardly unforeseen, it was in the pipeline for years. I think Bananarby is going to be allowed to stay.

To use a cricket analogy, Larissa was out of her crease when she got stumped, and she walked before the umpire raised a finger. Bananarby was caught out of his crease, but he's not leaving the pitch, he's playing the next over while the video umpire sorts this it out. BAD SPORT. NO INTEGRITY.
posted by adept256 at 6:55 AM on September 22 [32 favorites]


So all a hostile foreign power has to do to cause havoc with the legitimacy of Australia's government is to grant a bunch of them ciizenship?

"Mr. Supreme Leader, I have a cunning plan..."
posted by Huffy Puffy at 7:02 AM on September 22 [1 favorite]


I hereby grant all Australian senators citizenship of Florida-stan (a small atoll off the beach here where I live). Bam, you're welcome Aussies, just elect a whole new batch now. I promise not to make them citizens..........

But seriously, if I were a dictator somewhere and heard of this I doubt I could resist the urge to screw with another country's government based upon, what amounts to, their blue laws.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:03 AM on September 22


Jinx, we all owe each other cokes.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:04 AM on September 22


If you really wanted to screw with the Australian government, you could even pass a law that automatically grants citizenship in your dictatorship to anyone elected or appointed to sit in either house of the Australian government.

Change the constitution, you say? How would you do that when you have no MPs or Senators...?
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 7:07 AM on September 22 [4 favorites]


Change the constitution, you say? How would you do that when you have no MPs or Senators...?
That literally is why we have a G.G.
posted by wilful at 7:22 AM on September 22 [2 favorites]


What is the process for amending the Australian Constitution?
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 7:26 AM on September 22


So, at this point, the people who can unquestioningly serve as elected officials in Australia are mostly the aboriginal peoples, yes?
posted by Thorzdad at 7:45 AM on September 22 [30 favorites]


To use a cricket analogy, Larissa was out of her crease when she got stumped, and she walked before the umpire raised a finger. Bananarby was caught out of his crease, but he's not leaving the pitch, he's playing the next over while the video umpire sorts this it out.

This is an excellent comment, and MetaFilter needs more cricket analogies. Especially with the Ashes (5-0 to England likely) rapidly approaching.
posted by Wordshore at 8:01 AM on September 22 [7 favorites]


If you really wanted to screw with the Australian government, you could even pass a law that automatically grants citizenship in your dictatorship to anyone elected or appointed to sit in either house of the Australian government.

I think you should start with the most principled MP you can find. Once they've set the precedent...
posted by Leon at 8:10 AM on September 22


tv interview with this guy who just headbutted Tony Abbott
posted by indubitable at 8:11 AM on September 22 [5 favorites]


Some of these are kinda rules mongering, but some seem pretty cut and dried to me (as a non Australian citizen).

I mean, you born in freaking New Zealand to New Zealand parents, you lived there for 3 years, and it never occurred to you that you were an citizen of New Zealand? C'mon.

Someone who was born in Manitoba never checked to see if they were considered Canadian? Not even jokingly?

But the guy whose father was born in Cyprus, which hasn't been British for 60 years, ends up as a British Overseas Citizen, which is the "and everyone else we might have ruled" category of British citizenship and doesn't even come with the right to actually move to Britain? A status created 20 years after you were born?
That guy is getting screwed over.
posted by madajb at 9:01 AM on September 22 [8 favorites]


So all a hostile foreign power has to do to cause havoc with the legitimacy of Australia's government is to grant a bunch of them ciizenship?

Nah, the wording of section 44 is very strict but the High Court has left open the possibility of some flexibility in applying it when it's come up before (which has happened every now and then, although not so recently that enough of the current crop of parliamentarians remembers).

Apparently if you take all reasonable steps to get rid of any dual citizenship you might have, you're probably okay (unfortunately for him, the High Court didn't think that Malcolm Roberts passed this test by sending emails to a couple of (defunct) addresses he found online then considering the matter sorted when he didn't receive a reply - by contrast, Sam Dastyari is reported to have spent something like $25,000 on lawyers and fees to get rid of his Iranian dual citizenship before he ran). I doubt they'd immediately disqualify a parliamentarian who was suddenly given another country's citizenship for no reason and with no warning.

What is the process for amending the Australian Constitution?

A constitutional referendum, which has to pass with both an overall majority and a majority in the majority of States. They usually don't pass.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 9:01 AM on September 22 [4 favorites]


But the guy whose father was born in Cyprus, which hasn't been British for 60 years, ends up as a British Overseas Citizen, which is the "and everyone else we might have ruled" category of British citizenship and doesn't even come with the right to actually move to Britain? A status created 20 years after you were born?
That guy is getting screwed over.


I think there's a decent chance the court will find that British Overseas Citizenship isn't really citizenship (because, well, it isn't).
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 9:06 AM on September 22 [3 favorites]


This just seems like an enormous mess, given the complexities of global citizenship law in the modern world.

Not really. Everyone except Nick Xenophon is guilty of being a complete idiot here - the generally accepted level of proof required is just a letter from the immigration department of the country in question saying 'Dummy McBarnabyJoyce is/is not a citizen of New Zealand', so it doesn't matter whether your father or stepfather or grandfather or dog know whether or not they are citizens of the country they are from, you just ask the source before signing a legal document saying that to your knowledge, you are not a citizen of another country. Most of the politicians in question didn't even make Malcolm "the internet ate my fraud excuse" Roberts' level of effort here, they just decided that of course your mother and grandparents being Italian citizens wasn't something to think about when signing that form.

I am not under the impression that anyone in Australia is worried in any way whatsoever that an active politician being granted citizenship of another country without their knowledge or the option to decline would be considered a relevant event.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 9:27 AM on September 22 [4 favorites]


Someone who was born in Manitoba never checked to see if they were considered Canadian? Not even jokingly?

My dad was born in Winnipeg, and moved to New Mexico when he was three. Both of my grandparents eventually became naturalized American citizens; their naturalization automatically made my dad an American. He would have been maybe in his early teens, maybe younger.

In 2004, in a fit of post-election pique, he decided to look into what it would take to become Canadian and whether he had any claim to Canadian citizenship. It seems that Canada considers that any naturalization that occurs to someone as a minor, through an automatic process when the parents are naturalized, represents an unfair stripping of the minor's right to Canadian citizenship without their consent. So while he's not currently Canadian, he could reclaim that citizenship simply by requesting it. He might have to renounce his naturalization as an American as part of the process, though.

But yeah, it seems generally normal people can be born in Canada and never check if they're Canadian, even jokingly, until they're in their 60s and get pissed about the election.

(Please note that while the above is true as far as I understand it, it is not guaranteed to be an accurate representation of Canadian law or policy and should not be considered immigration advice. I accept no responsibility for the actions of others related to citizenship of any country now or in the future.)
posted by nickmark at 9:28 AM on September 22 [1 favorite]


It all seems a bit weird to me. If I were supreme ruler, my role would be closer to what the US does, not because I think we have the best ideas on everything, but our general stance on extra citizenship is more reasonable.

Unless you actively take steps to acquire/use a citizenship as an adult, even the CIA doesn't give a shit as long as you let them lock up your non-US passports and don't attempt to use the benefit of that other citizenship. So citizenship you don't know about by definition shouldn't be an issue.

Given the history, though, I'd be fairly surprised if the Aussie high court rules that vestigial citizenship/subjection in/to the British or their former voluntarily freed colonies disqualifies Australians from holding parliamentary office. It will be stupid if automatically conferred citizenship elsewhere received after or concurrently with Australian citizenship that is never exercised disqualifies people, but when stupidity and the law are on the same side, they always win.

Of course, living in a place where it is almost impossible to renounce your citizenship (another country requiring it makes it even harder!), a lot of immigration policy around the world seems stupid to me. (As does much of our own, but not so much with the parts dealing with citizens)
posted by wierdo at 9:33 AM on September 22


Hey everyone, I'm not saying there's a problem yet, however: although Australians may be known for our strong self-deprecating streak, that doesn't mean we like to be treated with condescension and ignorance. Please post in the politics threads of a foreign nation with the level of solidarity, sensitivity, curiosity and plain old quality discussion-building content you would like to see in your own.
posted by Panthalassa at 9:50 AM on September 22 [10 favorites]


I think it would be a blessed relief for all if Barnaby Joyce had to bugger off back to New Zealand.

Hey now, NZ has its own share of wankers, tyvm.
posted by Gin and Broadband at 10:01 AM on September 22


Please post in the politics threads of a foreign nation with the level of solidarity, sensitivity, curiosity and plain old quality discussion-building content you would like to see in your own.

My most-favorited comment in the latest #trump45 thread has a single sentence with eleven instances of the word "fucking". You're not setting much of a bar here.
posted by Etrigan at 10:07 AM on September 22 [14 favorites]


Dumb question - has this never come up previously, even though the language in question is decades old?
posted by Chrysostom at 11:22 AM on September 22


So while he's not currently Canadian, he could reclaim that citizenship simply by requesting it. He might have to renounce his naturalization as an American as part of the process, though.

Yeah, be careful with that. My cousins when they naturalized in the US had to go through the palaver of formally revoking their Canadian citizenship, according to their case officer. But in cases of cousins on the other side, pre-existing Canadian citizenship was nbd. The rules as applied by INS are arcane. There seem to be similarly different triggers when the US considers one to have revoked one's citizenship, casting a vote in another country, for example (they got one of my grandmothers this way). As always, It's probably best that he talk with an immigration lawyer first, in confidence.
posted by bonehead at 11:47 AM on September 22


Please post in the politics threads of a foreign nation with the level of solidarity, sensitivity, curiosity and plain old quality discussion-building content you would like to see in your own.

We elected Trump. We deserve to have the piss taken out of us until we're a desiccated husk that crumbles to powder if you breathe on it. The sweeping up and dumping onto the nearest ashheap is a task we shall bequeath to the coming generations.
posted by Diablevert at 11:52 AM on September 22 [6 favorites]


If you piss off America, it's drones and bombs and cruise missiles.

If you piss off New Zealand, we'll give you citizenship and thus bring down your government.

Right now, Barnaby Joyce, Australia's deputy Prime Minister, is number two in the voting for New Zealander of the Year.
posted by happyinmotion at 12:53 PM on September 22 [8 favorites]


As noted above, when this first came up with Larissa Waters, she resigned immediately and it was really sad. But some cynical part of the back of my mind wondered then if the Greens had info that some bigger fish had similar issues & executed a performative act of integrity to make it impossible for anyone with dual citizenship to pursue any other course. If that was the clever plan it sure didn't work.
posted by yarrow at 1:26 PM on September 22 [3 favorites]


I just want to make sure the non-Australians appreciate the delicious irony of Barnaby Joyce being found to have dual citizenship.

This is a right-wing, 100% true-blue ocker nationalist, anti-immigration politician, who it turns out has been a Kiwi all along! It's like a Republican from Kentucky being found to have actually been a secret Canadian.
posted by other barry at 1:51 PM on September 22 [9 favorites]


What is the process for amending the Australian Constitution?

Proposed amendments have to be approved by referendum, and achieve the support of a majority of Australians overall as well as a majority of citizens in the majority of states.

Most don't.
posted by flabdablet at 2:19 PM on September 22


this guy who just headbutted Tony Abbott

on being asked if he regrets doing so:
For the record, of course I do. I'm legally obliged to; I'm not going to help my case if I say anything different. Of course I regret it. I don't condone or believe in violence... against humans.
Proud to be that man's compatriot.
posted by flabdablet at 2:23 PM on September 22 [13 favorites]


There was a time, a few years back, when I'd occasionally wrily note to myself that while factions of the US were acting out about the fact that its president was the son of a foreigner, here was Australia, whose Prime Minister was born in Wales.

And now it turns out that any country can go crazy about this stuff. Who knew?
posted by ambrosen at 2:36 PM on September 22


That literally is why we have a G.G.

That's cool, but you'd should check if they're associated with a foreign power before allowing them to do stuff.
posted by sebastienbailard at 3:33 PM on September 22 [5 favorites]


It's like a Republican from Kentucky being found to have actually been a secret Canadian.

Ted Cruz is from Calgary Texas, okay?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:34 PM on September 22 [1 favorite]


What's a G.G.? I don't think GG Allin will help, honestly. Plus, he's dead.
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 4:38 PM on September 22


That's cool, but you'd should check if they're associated with a foreign power before allowing them to do stuff.

Well again the point of the Governor General is that they're allied with a foreign power, specifically the Queen of England.

I also need to communicate to everyone how unreasonably excited I am that Malcolm Roberts' downfall appears to have been the same thing that made him infamous as a politician: he Googles whatever he wants to know and believes the first thing he reads without question.

He considers himself a sovereign citizen. Do you know how much of a wingnut you have to be to be a sovereign citizen in Australia? Yes, One Nation are an incompetent far-right party, and he's in the Senate where you mostly vote for parties rather than people, but still the idea that a sovereign citizen could get into parliament and still be one is hilarious. You could probably walk into the Treasury, ask them if they had a secret bank account in your name that they put all the tax in, and get a tour of the place.
posted by Merus at 4:44 PM on September 22 [5 favorites]


The Governor-General is a representative of the Queen of Australia, not the Queen of England.
It just happens to be the same person.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:05 PM on September 22 [10 favorites]


My most-favorited comment in the latest #trump45 thread has a single sentence with eleven instances of the word "fucking". You're not setting much of a bar here.

From your description, I'd venture a guess it qualifies as solidarity. :p

I hope you grasp the basic point though, which is that patiently having to explain the basics of Australia's constitution, parliamentary democracy, electoral system and/or recent history in most politics-related threads is something I and probably some other Australian MeFites hope to eventually move beyond.
posted by Panthalassa at 5:40 PM on September 22 [5 favorites]


Dumb question - has this never come up previously, even though the language in question is decades old?

Yes, it has. There are multiple High Court rulings on it, you can see some information on the history in Wikipedia

It will be stupid if automatically conferred citizenship elsewhere received after or concurrently with Australian citizenship that is never exercised disqualifies people,

I'm guessing you are also unaware that this is actually a law that has been discussed before and so we already know how it works, we don't have to guess at how the High Court might interpret it from first principles.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 5:44 PM on September 22 [4 favorites]


Cynical as I am, even I was shocked at the level of naked bastardry currently keeping Joyce and Canavan in parliament on this issue (and Cash and Robert on other issues).

Canavan's "My mum did it secretly" excuse is shitty enough - given that the only reason she applied for them all to have citizenship in the first place is because they were preparing to skip the country to avoid Canavan Pere's impending criminal charges for fraud and financial crimes. But it wasn't even fucking true, he was a goddamn citizen before that and had never checked!

Joyce's smug bullshit fell apart pretty quick. The idea of not stepping down when he and Canavan both are incontrovertibly in breach of the law is bad enough - Not even stepping down from Cabinet is fucking outrageous! Also it's not like these guys are someone like Julie Bishop, who may be evil but has an undeniable and atypical competence for the Liberal ministry. Those two shitstains could be outperformed by a reasonably bright slime-mould.

But really, it's the story of this Abbott-Turnbull govt writ large, isn't it? Sabotaged by their own hopelessness; beholden to the dumbest most reactionary wing of the party; distracted by bullshit from idiots instead of doing any kind of governing; when presented with the opportunity to demonstrate integrity, regularly turning away from it with transparently shit and contradictory excuses. Turnbull's promise of a new type of governance is now as maddening as it is hilarious. Here's a man who lost leadership because of his determination to do something - however pathetic - about climate change. Now look at him. If you struck him with a hammer he'd ring like the national carillon.
posted by smoke at 7:01 PM on September 22 [15 favorites]




Reading the agents of KAOS' link, I feel like the snark wasn't really appropriate. While there have been past rulings, none appear to be directly on point since the court hasn't ruled directly on the issue of what constitutes acknowledgement or acceptance.

Still, based on the past rulings the safe course of action would be to stop participating in government until the situation is resolved one way or the other.

Interestingly for those of us in the US, the issues of eligibility seem more to do with status at the time you are nominated in Australia, while here you're fine as long as you are eligible at the time you assume office. (Generally speaking)
posted by wierdo at 4:31 PM on September 28


Update (1 , 2) : the High Court has heard argument about the seven and has reserved its decision. Kiefel CJ said they'll get on but these things take time.

Yesterday we had the gobsmacking chutzpah of One Nation's Roberts' counsel saying: ‚Äč

"There should be no place in Australian law - let alone Australian constitutional law - in 2016 for some dichotomy to be drawn between so-called natural-born Australians and immigrant Australians," he told the full bench. "If such a concept ever had a place in Australian law it should be put to bed."

The government seems to have argued that everybody except Roberts should be OK. The Court seems to be leaning towards the view that Brian for and from the Greens thinks that the Greens are nice. The former Solicitor General (for Baaarnaby's potential byelection opponent Tony Windsor) suggests everyone is fucked (because who cares what people say they thought: they found out and took steps or they didn't). Ominously, the friend of the court seems to back that up - with the possible and highly amusing exception of Nick Xenophon.

Because if it turns out that Xenophon is the only one standing after this, he's off back to SA politics after this anyway.
posted by hawthorne at 6:08 AM on October 13


Laws can be revoked. Explicitly xenophobic ones should be.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:36 AM on October 17


Oh finally, an informed opinion. EYEROLLS ALL OVER THE PLACE.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 12:31 AM on October 18


Are you referring to me, KAOS? I happen to have immediate family who are dual citizens in Australia. If you think it is fine to disenfranchise Australian citizens for their foreign origins, I'm afraid I disagree with that blatantly xenophobic position.

This whole "crisis" is fucking stupid. Immediately amend the constitution to strike out the xenophobic bullshit. That's it. It ain't complicated. Constitutions are amended all the time. "Is it perhaps time to start to consider thinking about maybe taking the first steps toward changing—?" Fucking yes! Quit dithering and get on with it. Instead of marvelling at how brass-ballsedly hypocritical and self-serving Malcolm Roberts' legal argument is, maybe try marvelling at how right it is. If even a wingnut like that('s lawyer) can get it right, even if it is for all the wrong reasons, then why on earth would the rest of the nation be on the more conservative side of the issue? Are you all worse than a One Nation fuckstick? I mean... Yeesh.

We now return you to your obnoxious condescension, already in progress.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:26 AM on October 20


Take your yeesh bullshit and stop telling me, a dual citizen in Australia along with all of my immediate family, about how deeply affected you are by this as a foreigner on the other side of the world. And stop beating your wife.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 1:30 AM on October 20


Oh, I'm sure he's already stopped beating his wife.

This whole "crisis" is fucking stupid.

Agreed. But if it actually manages to get Baaaanaby chucked out of office, however briefly, it will have achieved uts purpose.

Immediately amend the constitution to strike out the xenophobic bullshit.

Our Constitution doesn't really do "immediate".

That's it. It ain't complicated.

Yes, that is it, but it actually is complicated. We can't even agree on being a republic even though people understand more or less what that is and some even care; we've no hope of achieving anything as fiddly and technical as modifying provisions around allegiance to foreign powers. Also, successive Governments have played the xenophobia card to such devastating effect that we currently have very wide popular support for keeping refugees locked indefinitely in concentration camps; can you really see a "foreigners are fine and dandy" referendum getting up in today's political climate? I can't.

Constitutions are amended all the time.

Ours has a long history of being quite resistant to it.

Quit dithering and get on with it.

Certainly, sir; I'll let them know in the kitchen. And will sir be taking the Seville or the cumquat with your Earl Grey this morning?
posted by flabdablet at 4:45 AM on October 20


I'll take that as a "yes."
posted by Sys Rq at 1:57 PM on October 20


Sys rq, in Australia all constitutional change must be taken to referendum.

Australia has had 44 referendums in its history and only eight were successful. There is very little chance this would get up.
posted by smoke at 2:18 PM on October 20


Don't be condescending now, of course he knew that it would have to go through a referendum which meant approval by both House of Parliament and then a minimum two month waiting period, and approval by a majority of voters in a majority of states. Nobody would be such a clod as to present such confident nonsense without a clue what they were talking about. I'm sure he's totally au fait with the current governments inability to run a plebiscite on a piss-up in a brewery, and no doubt understands how anger over that clusterfuck combined with the obvious self interest of the government in this proposal would make it even less likely to get over that threshold. And I wish I believed that he had a coherent thought about the wording of an amendment that would solve the legal ambiguity of past elections by retroactively changing the eligibility rules and pardoning anyone who lied on legal documents about their status. Simple and obvious, eh.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 4:02 AM on October 21


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