Citizenship 7
October 26, 2017 8:05 PM   Subscribe

 
I'm watching this and the ABC now as well as following the live blog at The Graudian.

I fall in the -- ignorance is no excuse -- camp. If you're running for high office, it's incumbent on the candidate to verify all aspects of eligibility. Case in point with Barnaby Joyce; wouldn't it have been a reasonable thing to check with his Dad (a Kiwi) and the New Zealand embassy about his status those many many years ago?
posted by michswiss at 8:16 PM on October 26 [4 favorites]


Joyce is out. I'm slightly happier today.
posted by michswiss at 8:19 PM on October 26 [2 favorites]


Ah hahahahahahahahaha! Couldn't happen to a nicer prick. Dumb idiot went on record as saying ignorance was no excuse before claiming ignorance was his excuse.

I'm glad they found Nick Xenophon eligible, his was the only situation that was pretty cut and dried.

Matt Canavan got away with blaming his mum. Good to know that's a viable tactic for anything in life going forwards.
posted by Silentgoldfish at 8:25 PM on October 26 [6 favorites]


No mucking about there:
• Barnaby Joyce has been ruled ineligible. There will now be a by-election in his seat of New England and the Government loses its one-seat majority
• Malcolm Roberts, Larissa Waters, Fiona Nash and Scott Ludlam have also been ruled ineligible
• Nick Xenophon and Matthew Canavan are safe
posted by unliteral at 8:29 PM on October 26 [1 favorite]


Can we get back to Michaelia Cash now?
posted by unliteral at 8:34 PM on October 26 [2 favorites]


I don't want to change the world
I'm not looking for a new England
posted by Chrysostom at 8:38 PM on October 26 [6 favorites]


Yes, please. Cash needs to be booted. There's no way in hell Turnbull marched her into his office two days ago only to ask if she personally had leaked the info on the raids. With the dude that, ostensibly, did it in tow. That type of language is was too specific. That meeting was to work out the strategy going forward.

Albo called it this morning on RN. They are flat out lying.
posted by michswiss at 8:39 PM on October 26 [3 favorites]


Wait a minute, does the US have such a law? Wasn't Ted Cruz a dual citizen (citizen of Canada) when he was elected US Senator? He has since renounced his Canadian citizenship, but if the US has such a rule, wouldn't that make his original election invalid?
posted by eye of newt at 8:54 PM on October 26


I don't get why the line was drawn where it was. Can someone explain better than the links?
posted by wierdo at 8:59 PM on October 26 [1 favorite]


Wait a minute, does the US have such a law?

No.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:01 PM on October 26 [4 favorites]


Wasn't Ted Cruz a dual citizen (citizen of Canada) when he was elected US Senator? He has since renounced his Canadian citizenship, but if the US has such a rule, wouldn't that make his original election invalid?

No. Ted Cruz is a Senator, not the President. His mother was an American, so he's an American. It was admittedly bad optics for him to have Canadian citizenship as well, but nothing in the Constitution prevents him from holding the office he holds.
posted by parliboy at 9:02 PM on October 26 [1 favorite]


Also, this is an Australian politics thread, so let's keep the US out of it.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:03 PM on October 26 [48 favorites]


I don't get why the line was drawn where it was. Can someone explain better than the links?

My understanding: Canavan may or may not be a citizen of Italy - his mum never successfully applied and the birth right issue is very unclear/undecided in Italian law atm - tl;dr if Italy can't tell if he's a citizen, we can't expect him to tell. Shame, he's such a huge fucking douche.

Xenophon - the only really valid case. He was never a citizen of the UK, but has a right to citizenship because Cyprus was a british foreign territory when he was born there (weirdly, he's not considered a Cypriot).
posted by smoke at 9:08 PM on October 26 [8 favorites]


Suck shit, Turnbull, you fool. This will only cement popular perception of this government as a bedraggled collection of meandering cretins. You won't be able to talk about anything, at all, until 2018 now.

Further more, Barnaby has a rap sheet of personal and professional failings longer than Bronwyn Bishop's expense register. Now New England is in play, again, I would expect his disastrous handling of Murray Darling Scheme (with qld stealing water), moronic office relocations, etc to come up a lot. CSG will be the chink in his armour, though I don't rate Windsor's chances as highly as some, I'd give him 30%.

My schadenfreude switched to outrage in his presser when he was asked about how details of his personal life were leaking (he's getting divorced because he had an affair with a staffer, which I would argue is actually professional anyway), and he said he "wouldn't participate in it". It's like Barnaby, you fuck, you had no problems spending the last three months participating in the personal lives of millions of same sex couples as you defended the sanctity of marriage - sanctity you were actually undermining at the whole time.

I hope he loses and brings down this hopeless fucking govt. Labor vs Liberal front bench is like Muhammed Ali vs a dehydrated meal worm someone found in the cupboard.
posted by smoke at 9:19 PM on October 26 [19 favorites]


It's kind of a weird situation, given that some people (e.g. adoptees) might not have any way of telling whether they're dual nationals.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:23 PM on October 26 [2 favorites]


On the one hand, Malcolm-Ieuan: Roberts, a self realised and free sentient man who is the beneficiary and administrator for MALCOM IEUAN ROBERTS (and definitely not one of those sovereign citizen whackos, no sireee, not him) is out.

On the other hand, being a senator it's up to the party to recommend his replacement to the state parliament. And isn't the next cab off the rank the sister of the robber's dog herself?
posted by Pinback at 9:26 PM on October 26 [1 favorite]


And isn't the next cab off the rank the sister of the robber's dog herself?
That metaphor is almost Robertsian in it's mixing...*

In all seriousness, though, his masterful emailing of the '.uksydney' domain to query his citizenship was enough to disqualify him in my book. If you can't even basic internet, you dumb spongewank, you don't deserve to be in a position of authority in a 21st-century democracy.

*Not metaphor-ist...
posted by prismatic7 at 9:35 PM on October 26 [3 favorites]


I was wondering how this little Katamari Democracy thing started rolling at full speed - it was William Summers.
posted by unliteral at 9:43 PM on October 26


Strewth mate, I am gobsmacked.
posted by Coaticass at 9:46 PM on October 26


Windsor says he's not contesting New England, damn it. Barnaby's chance of a hold just got a lot higher.
posted by smoke at 9:49 PM on October 26 [2 favorites]


This takedown of Roberts was quite entertaining: Goodbye Malcolm Roberts, you showed us how crazy the Senate can be
posted by liquorice at 9:59 PM on October 26


From now on if any Aussie politician pisses us off we're conferring NZ citizenship on them ....
posted by mbo at 10:21 PM on October 26 [11 favorites]


Windsor says he's not contesting New England, damn it. Barnaby's chance of a hold just got a lot higher.

With such a short time until the byelection, I think it was very unlikely he'd have lost anyway.

Meanwhile here are the replacement senators, per the ABC:

For Larissa Waters: Next on the Greens' Queensland ticket is Andrew Bartlett.
For Scott Ludlam: Next on the Greens' WA ticket is Jordan Steele-John, a young activist who has cerebral palsy.
For Malcolm Roberts: Next on One Nation's Queensland ticket is Fraser Anning, who is no longer facing bankruptcy legal action.
For Fiona Nash: Next on the Coalition's Senate ticket in NSW is Hollie Hughes, who is a Liberal. That would mean a change in the Coalition balance.
posted by retrograde at 10:38 PM on October 26


Brandis appointed Hollie Hughes to the AAT, didn't he? That's an Office of Profit under the Crown which would make her ineligible.

Roberts is going to run in the Qld State Election. Wheeee
posted by hawthorne at 10:56 PM on October 26 [1 favorite]


Hughes could resign from the AAT and then take up the position. Andrew Bartlett should step aside to allow a casual vacancy which Larissa Waters can then step into and return to the excellent work she has done in the Senate so far now that she has resolved her Canadian citizenship issue. But I fear Bartlett wants another go at being a Senator yet I don't think he's anywhere near the quality of Waters.
posted by Thella at 11:28 PM on October 26 [2 favorites]


[HTWRT cannot be reached at this time due to a massive schadenfreude overdose]
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:37 AM on October 27 [3 favorites]


Roberts is going to run in the Qld State Election. Wheeee
Good luck with that, Malcolm. Hopefully that'll be the last we hear of you…

(Ipswich might be One Nation ground zero, but it's also about as safe a state Labor seat as you'll find anywhere in Qld, and there's also a lot of disillusionment & dislike for ON on the ground there. It's currently held by ~16% margin, has only gone against Labor once since the Joh era, and the current Labor state government isn't that much on the nose with anyone…)
posted by Pinback at 12:44 AM on October 27 [1 favorite]


So funny, we're always so desperate to claim Kiwis as one of our own. Guys, you can have this one back. Crowded House is definitely ours though.
posted by Jubey at 1:39 AM on October 27 [1 favorite]


On the one hand, Malcolm-Ieuan: Roberts, a self realised and free sentient man who is the beneficiary and administrator for MALCOM IEUAN ROBERTS (and definitely not one of those sovereign citizen whackos, no sireee, not him) is out.

Though was there a gold fringe on the flag in the courtroom? That could make all the difference.
posted by acb at 1:55 AM on October 27 [2 favorites]


Baanaby's admission that he knew in his gut he was gone is remarkably stupid. Counsels' opinions about the validity of his decisions are already being sought, I hear.
posted by hawthorne at 2:00 AM on October 27 [1 favorite]


I’m sure the government is happy at least that in the kerfuffle, they have quietly admitted that they are going to pay sweet fuck all attention to the Uluru statement because it might make white people uncomfortable. Scullion said the government did not have any evidence and had not done any polling to support its decision, saying: “It’s not always about evidence, it is about the government’s judgment … if this notion of a voice was put to a referendum it would certainly fail and that is the government’s judgment.”

You fuckers put the nation through this fucking plebiscite for a foregone conclusion but NOW you reckon you’ve got the vibe?

(On topic of These Fucking Guys)
posted by chiquitita at 2:15 AM on October 27 [16 favorites]


> It's kind of a weird situation, given that some people (e.g. adoptees) might not have any way of telling whether they're dual nationals.

If they were certain they shouldn't have run for office. If they were uncertain their party could have vetted them before they ran.
posted by at by at 3:32 AM on October 27 [2 favorites]




Lisa Visentin FTW
posted by lalochezia at 5:12 AM on October 27


Oh this is so funny. He has no excuse, I'm a dual citizen and I've always known I was ineligible. This is the sort of thing you check!
posted by kitten magic at 6:18 AM on October 27


Ipswich might be One Nation ground zero, but it's also about as safe a state Labor seat as you'll find anywhere in Qld, and there's also a lot of disillusionment & dislike for ON on the ground there. It's currently held by ~16% margin, has only gone against Labor once since the Joh era, and the current Labor state government isn't that much on the nose with anyone…

Dunno who you've been talking to, Pinback, but there's a good possibility backlash at Adani Carmichael may yet saddle us poor Queenslanders with another LNP government in the upcoming state election. There are a lot of people pissed off at the Palaszczuk government for the hand over fist manner in which they are throwing public funds at the project, especially up north. I wounldn't count One Nation out just yet.
posted by Jilder at 6:39 AM on October 27


Hughes could resign from the AAT and then take up the position.
Tricky questions of timing here - see SMurray's story from August:
In Sykes v Cleary, the 1992 case that disqualified Phil Cleary from holding a House of Representatives seat on the grounds that as a government employed teacher he held an “office of profit under the Crown” and found two other candidates were unable to contest the election on grounds of holding dual citizenships, Deane J addressed the issue of what would happen if there were a change in a candidate’s circumstances between nomination and being “declared duly elected”.

Deane held that:

if a disqualifying event under s. 44 of the Constitution intervenes, the disqualified person cannot be validly declared duly elected at a time when he or she is disqualified.

[...]

Interestingly, on the question of timing, Wheeler [QC, advising the government later on an another s 44 controversy] advised that on her understanding of the explicit holdings of Deane J and the implicit holdings of the majority in Sykes v Cleary if Ferris had validly held an office of profit (even for a short period) in the period before she was declared elected but after polling day, her election “would be” voided.
Someone will give this a burl.
posted by hawthorne at 7:06 AM on October 27


Simple fix: Make Australian citizenship exclusive.

If you want to keep one foot back in the 'old country', fuck off back there.

We stole this nation from the oldest civilisation in the world. We can never, ever make that right.

You want to come here? Commit to it. Abandon all other allegiances.

Australians should be Australians. Respectful of the first Australians, whose heritage as the most senior culture in Australia (and, yeah, the universe). The culture of the people is acknowledged and respected.

Commit. Australian citizenship must be a decisive step. "Now I am Australian. And that is what I am."
posted by Combat Wombat at 8:35 AM on October 27 [1 favorite]


For those with countries that don't have such a law, this seems quite strange and pointless. One Australian barrister argues that Section 44 Of The Constitution Means NOBODY Is Eligible To Be Elected To Parliament. Whether he is right or not, it certainly seems like a poorly constructed provision.
posted by phoenixy at 8:37 AM on October 27 [1 favorite]


phoenixy is wrong. Go and read the decision of the Court of Disputed Returns.

Then go and read the actual constitution.

Actually, do it in the other order.

The constitutional requirement is important, and the Court has upheld it.

If you want to govern Australia, you must be certain you will live in Australia forever.
posted by Combat Wombat at 8:49 AM on October 27


Simple fix: Make Australian citizenship exclusive

I know I'm swimming against the tide of nationalism and populism, but dual-citizenship is a very good thing for the people who have it, and the world in general.
posted by bhnyc at 9:05 AM on October 27 [17 favorites]


Combat Wombat: "We stole this nation from the oldest civilisation in the world. We can never, ever make that right.

You want to come here? Commit to it. Abandon all other allegiances.
"

I guess I don't understand how one thought leads to the other. "Westerners committed a historic irrevocable wrong to the original residents of this country...therefore, modern day immigrants must not have dual citizenship."
posted by Chrysostom at 9:07 AM on October 27 [6 favorites]


The amusing thing is that this all started as some fuckwit trying to get a hit job in on Ludlam and Hinch. Now the turd has cost the libs their majority, while the Greens lose exactly zero votes in the Senate. Turnabout is fair play fuckers. Fucking glorious result.
posted by Talez at 10:26 AM on October 27 [4 favorites]


Oh man this is sweet. Does this mean we can deport Bananarby? Give him the deal he had with Pistol and Boo? The bloke's an embarrassment.
posted by adept256 at 10:55 AM on October 27


No-one's mentioned this yet, but this also throws into question all the decisions he made while his citizenship was in question. He was ineligible to make those decisions, so they're arguably invalid.
posted by adept256 at 10:57 AM on October 27 [2 favorites]


Combat Wombat, since 2002 a lot of Australians have taken up dual citizenship in the other direction. I'm one of them, and I've seen that kind of attitude plunge my second country into chaos via Brexit. Anyone who thinks that a citizen of the world is a citizen of nowhere can piss right off. Tory prime ministers very much included.

Dual citizens add value to Australia, not subtract it, and they would do the same for Parliament if we weren't saddled with British Imperial attitudes towards foreigners embedded in the Constitution.
posted by rory at 11:53 AM on October 27 [13 favorites]


My goodness banning dual citizens from office is racist and bizarre. I will admit at least it'd be logically consistent if Aussie citizenship were exclusive; instead it just disenfranchises immigrants.
posted by pmv at 12:51 PM on October 27 [1 favorite]


The constitutional requirement is important, and the Court has upheld it.

The High Court didn't uphold s44 because it's important. They upheld it because it's a strict liability provision and they had no choice. It's drafted in such a way that knowledge and intent are irrelevant.

They're judges. They don't make law. They interpret it.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 1:23 PM on October 27 [4 favorites]


What is the background of the whisteblowing or fouled up hit job as someone up thread mentioned? Here is a recent interview with the man who started it all, I guess. I just want to understand the context beyond interpretation of the law.
posted by jadepearl at 1:37 PM on October 27


Is it racist though? It seems to make sense to me that if you're going to represent this country and make and pass laws for the best interests of Australia and it's people you should not be a citizen of another country at the same time.
posted by liquorice at 2:05 PM on October 27 [1 favorite]


Of course it's racist, it's a product of the late 19th century. In those years all Australians were British subjects and only British subjects, so anybody else considered a British subject would have been fine under s44: having an allegiance to a foreign power meant you weren't British, not that you weren't Australian. British citizenship and Australian citizenship weren't invented until 1948. And one of the first acts of the Commonwealth of Australia was the basis of the White Australia policy.

The bar on dual citizens as MPs might makes sense if you're used to it, but it doesn't if you aren't. Other countries in the Anglosphere don't have it. I could become prime minister of the UK if I could convince enough people to vote for me. If having "divided" loyalties is such a problem for voters, it will sort itself out at the ballot box.

To me, the idea of having divided loyalties is in any case as silly as the idea that I'm required to choose one of my kids over the other, or one of my parents over the other. If historical circumstance forces me to make that choice by pitting my two countries against each other, then I'll do so by physically locating myself in one or the other. And if I'm not living in Australia, I can't exactly run for Parliament there, can I? But if I move back to Australia (if, for example, my second country should engage in some monumental, unprecedented act of self-harm, bringing rampant xenophobia in its wake... hypothetically speaking, of course), I'll be as Australian as I've always been.
posted by rory at 2:38 PM on October 27 [6 favorites]


Jilder: "Dunno who you've been talking to, Pinback, but there's a good possibility backlash at Adani Carmichael may yet saddle us poor Queenslanders with another LNP government in the upcoming state election. There are a lot of people pissed off at the Palaszczuk government for the hand over fist manner in which they are throwing public funds at the project, especially up north."
I don't entirely disagree with you - at least as far as the likelyhood of the LNP winning the next state election, especially for those reasons - but I wasn't speaking to that. When I said "the current Labor state government isn't that much on the nose with anyone". I was referring to the likelyhood that they'd get the 16% swing needed to lose Ipswich and that it'd go in favour of ON (no, it won't).

Ipswich is often considered One Nation heartland - frequently by people who should know better (Antony Green, I'm looking at you…) - but both the facts & history show otherwise. Sure, she's an Ipswich gal, she originally won the federal seat of Oxley (which includes Ipswich city i.e. almost all of the state seat of Ipswich), the groundswell that launched ON started there, and the majority of her initial supporters & staff came from the area - but that overlooks the bloomin' obvious:
  • They've never won Ipswich as One Nation, either state or federally - Hanson was on the ballot as a (disendorsed) Liberal when she won the federal seat of Oxley in the election that swept Howard to power, and lost it (with a different candidate; Hanson moved to Blair which she also lost) at the next election as ON (admittedly, Howards' wedge politics were in full flight there).
  • The closest they've come in state elections there is second (1998, when ON was at its peak) by ~6% primary / ~10% 2pp, with a personally popular local candidate bumping the figure up & LNP preferences pulling them down. State-wide, they won 6 seats in 1998 - with 5 of them subsequently breaking away to form the CCA after having personal & financial issues with PH & ON.
  • There is a huge dislike for both PH personally, and ON as a party, in the area. She always was disliked - I first heard of her, pre-politics, as the fish-&-chip shop to avoid at Silkstone, and I've never even lived in the area (though I worked in adjacent areas at the time) - and she & her party(s) have burned a lot of bridges amongst early supporters & local wannabe-players since then, both personally & politically (& I watched a lot of that unfold from the sidelines, back when it was happening on the internet as a new and amazing medium for like-minded crypto-racists & nationalists to find each other). AFAIK, they've never even fielded a candidate in Ipswich since 1998.
  • In general, where they have taken votes away from other parties it's been at the expense of the LNP & minor parties / right-wing independents (& to some extent, the Greens). It hasn't helped them though - the combination of LNP <-> ALP preference deals, and minor parties directing preferences away from ON, has resulted in them losing even when they've gotten an otherwise-solid majority of primary votes.
  • To touch on your point about Adani, New Acland, etc: that ain't gonna help Malcolm Roberts at all. It's not just about the government throwing money at an overseas mining company & getting little return; a good percentage of the opposition is from people who are against mining in general & coal in particular. They're not going to vote for the pro coal, anti global warming Mr Roberts in any way, shape, or reptillian form…
  • And, to top it off, Mr. definitely-not-a-sovereign: citizen personally got just 77 votes as a senate candidate, running second to PH's 20,000-odd. It was above-the-line party votes - ~230,000; a distand 3rd behind Labor's ~685,000 & LNP's ~920,000, and just above the Green's ~167,000 - that got him over the line. That's friends-and-family numbers…
"I wounldn't count One Nation out just yet."

Neither would I - there's always another bunch of gleaming-eyed & nasty people to take advantage of - but they're not likely to win Ipswich.

I could tell you one electorate where I think he'd have a fair chance of winning - but if they're not smart enough to figure it out themselves, I'm not giving them any hints…
posted by Pinback at 4:28 PM on October 27 [1 favorite]


> Of course it's racist, it's a product of the late 19th century. In those years all Australians were British subjects and only British subjects, so anybody else considered a British subject would have been fine under s44

Being British is not a race. It's a nationalist policy, not a racist one.

> It seems to make sense to me that if you're going to represent this country and make and pass laws for the best interests of Australia and it's people you should not be a citizen of another country at the same time

Precisely. And this is why so many of the decisions of the early Parliaments were so bad, because they were made in the interests of Britain, not Australia. Why was Australia involved in the Boer War or WWI? Why were we paying off debt to Britain during the Depression while our own people went hungry and homeless? It took the fall of Singapore for Australian parilaments to realise that we had to make decisions in our own interests, not Britain's.
posted by girlgenius at 5:45 PM on October 27 [5 favorites]


So I was giving an academic talk yesterday at a conference, while this was all happening. And at the end, the chair asked the room if there were any questions. One person raised her hand really quickly. He said, "Yes? What is your question?"
She said, "I have an announcement, rather than a question."
The chair looked a bit surprised, but said, "Yes?"
She said, "Barnaby Joyce is out."

I didn't get any other questions, but there was a loud and enthusiastic round of applause that I chose to interpret as being for my paper.
posted by lollusc at 8:51 PM on October 27 [11 favorites]


My goodness banning dual citizens from office is racist and bizarre. I will admit at least it'd be logically consistent if Aussie citizenship were exclusive; instead it just disenfranchises immigrants.

Two of our last three prime ministers began life as citizens of another country. The five people impacted by this policy were 100% Anglo, and only two would be considered immigrants (the other three were natural born Australian citizens who gained foreign citizenship from a non-Australian parent). The parliamentarians of Italian and Cypriot heritage before the court were ruled eligible to stand for parliament.

Australia is extremely racist, but we do have multiple immigrants in our parliament. You just have to renounce your other citizenship first.
posted by chiquitita at 9:42 PM on October 27 [3 favorites]


Barnaby Joyce is out.

Applause!

Acting Prime Minister Julie Bishop

Pensive silence.
posted by adept256 at 11:02 PM on October 27 [2 favorites]


Yesterday was one of those days it was fun to work at Parliament House.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 11:07 PM on October 27 [7 favorites]


The five people impacted by this policy were 100% Anglo, and only two would be considered immigrants (the other three were natural born Australian citizens who gained foreign citizenship from a non-Australian parent).

Exactly. If anything, this law is an example of equal opportunity distrust of all other countries. It's just that anyone vaguely ethnic would be more likely to question their citizenship status as opposed to a white person. It's been very enjoyable to watch this shambolic affair from that perspective.
posted by liquorice at 12:41 AM on October 28 [1 favorite]


Being British is not a race. It's a nationalist policy, not a racist one.

On the one hand, yes, in 2017 being British is supposedly not a "race" in our contemporary popular understanding of that word. It's not even belonging to a "nation" in some respects, given the conglomerate nature of the United Kingdom. Naturalised citizens like me can find a sense of belonging in that, knowing that we're UK citizens and therefore "British" even when we aren't English or Scottish or Welsh or Northern Irish.

But the concept of Britishness is more than just nationalism; race is still a significant part of it. If it weren't, we wouldn't talk about Black British people or British Asians, while rarely labelling the majority "White British" - white people wouldn't get to be the default. Culture is also part of it, such that naturalised citizens can never be wholly British in some people's eyes because we weren't born and raised here. Scottish nationalists also would argue that the domination of Britishness by the English, and the artificial nature of the construct (post-1707), make it even more exclusionary.

As someone who has lived in Scotland for sixteen years, and in recent years has lived through not one but two prolonged bouts of nationalism, first the IndyRef and then the EU Referendum and its aftermath, I find the line between nationalism and racism as blurry as hell. Once upon a time, when I was only Australian and had mostly only lived in Australia, I might have drawn a sharper distinction, but not any more.

But I wasn't really talking about the 2017 conception of Britishness, I was talking about the 1901 one. And in 1901, Britishness was even more of a racial construct. People proudly and uncritically spoke of the British race, and meant by it the people who had lived on this island for centuries. The notion of the "British subject" (see pp. 13-14) was far from inclusive. Although it was ostensibly based on allegiance to the crown, it was also strongly territorial, and was associated with laws that reinforced ethnic exclusion, such as the White Australia policy. We kid ourselves if we read s44(i) through some sort of context-free lens: it was a product of that time, of that imperial system and those imperial attitudes. It would never have been a perfect barrier to all non-White British people, but it was part of a system of laws and rules that were enough of a barrier to keep Australia (White) British. Some of the barriers have since been removed, but others remain.

At a time when we're watching America face up to the racist underpinnings of its systems of government - to the fact that the effects of the Civil War never ended, and the reality that the Civil Rights movement is unfinished business - it's crucial that we do the same. Nationalism is the window-dressing of racism. It may feel harmless to celebrate the Australian form of nationalism - I enjoyed the bicentenary well enough when I was 20, and used to observe Australia Day uncritically - but when we listen to the people who have been most affected by Australian nationalism and its imperial antecedents, the people who have lived in Australia for millennia, we know that it isn't harmless. We (should) know that it harbours racism, just as the vote to leave the EU in Britain harboured racism. And those harmless old symbols of imperialism - the Union Jack in the corner of the flag, s44(i) - aren't just keepsakes tucked away in a drawer. They're continuing, public reminders of the exclusionary nature of our country's foundation.

We recognised the problems with s44(i) for contemporary Australia long ago. A Senate committee recommended in 1981 that it be replaced with a simple requirement for Australian citizenship, and a 1997 House of Reps committee recommended the same. If we'd done it then, none of this current trouble would have arisen, and Australian politics would stand to benefit from the millions of Australians who have taken up dual citizenship elsewhere or were born into it; there would be one less reminder that the right to represent the people requires you to be one of the right kind of people.

Requiring that someone should simply renounce their dual citizenship if they want to run for Parliament is unreasonable. If they were born into it, you're asking them to give up part of their birthright. If they acquired it later in life, you're asking them to waste the time and money and considerable stress they spent doing so, and potentially to complicate their relationship with their own children. All of this, just to stand in an election that they might not win. That's an enormous gamble, which most won't take. Australia's loss.

I know that the Constitution is difficult to change, but it can be changed. The nonsensical situation of half a dozen MPs being kicked out on this basis might be enough of a spur to make that change. I don't know, but it would be worth a shot. Unfortunately, we would have to rely on MPs who by definition aren't excluded by s44(i) to make the case, so I won't hold my breath.

When I think about this issue, I reflect on the fact that I ruled myself out of Federal Parliament contention when I took up UK citizenship a decade ago. I highly doubt I'd ever have run, but you never know. Now I'd have to restrict myself to state politics, where I could use my divided loyalites to betray the interests of a subset of the Australian people rather than all of them. Fortunately, I could run in any state or territory, even though my primary identification is with one in particular. Which reminds me that the most influential politician in my home state in my lifetime moved there after spending his twenties living and working in Canberra, the Northern Territory and the UK. Thankfully, he never had to renounce his loyalty to his home state of New South Wales in order to run in Tasmania.
posted by rory at 2:49 AM on October 28 [6 favorites]


It is worth reading the actual decision though - it covers, considers, and responds to quite a few of the points Rory & others mention.
posted by Pinback at 8:03 PM on October 28 [2 favorites]


I've read the judgment, and while not disagreeing with the learned judges' conclusions, the outcome is a mess. There are undoubtedly many people who don't know that they are citizens by descent. In fact, some of those cannot know this, either because they either don't know that an ancestor had foreign citizenship, or because the foreign law is not settled.

I think that this situation could not have been intended by the drafters of the Constitution: I think that they would have expected that the effect of the earlier drafts (which referred to an "act" of acknowledging citizenship) would be continued by the final expression, or that at least the acquisition of British/Australian citizenship and renouncing other loyalties would make someone eligible under s 44(i). I think the idea that an Australian needs to petition Greece or Italy for release from some inherited loyalty is misconceived, and the fact that the petition alone is enough - that the foreign country doesn't even need to accept it - makes the whole thing a farce.

This outcome is an embarrassing affront to our national dignity and the rights of many Australians. We need an Amendment to bring it in line with what most people would have expected: that Australian citizenship is sufficient qualification for anyone who hasn't subsequently acquired a second nationality.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:58 PM on October 28


I agree that the outcome is … well, something of a mess; it could hardly have been otherwise in a set of 7 different judgements that attempt to cover several widely-different scenarios. The judgements themselves, though, seem solid & supported with sensible arguments & interpretations. The messiest is probably Canavan, though to give them credit they seem to have taken into account what he could feasibly have known at the time and the fact that he 'fessed up as soon as it seemed he did know.

Truth be told, I have a certain sympathy for the cases of Waters & Joyce - about 30 years ago, back in the days when it was a lot less easy & clear, I spent a week visting & calling embassies & government departments, here & overseas, with or on behalf of my partner at the time (who was born in NZ to an Australian citizen and a NZ citizen & emigrated here as a child on one parent's NZ passport about 15 years earlier). Despite that solid week's worth of work, and several months of back-and-forth via mail, we never did settle the matter of whether she was an Australian/NZ/dual/reciprocal citizen - each department & country had their own interpretations, that ranged from one extreme to the other & everywhere in-between (the laws in both countries had changed 3 or 4 times between when she was born & when we were trying to establish her exact status) - or exactly how she could go about confirming/gaining Australian citizenship (a lot of that hinged on exactly how, when, & under what conditions her parents had travelled here; details they were not willing to provide).

I do disagree with your belief about "what most people would have expected". I don't think public opinion is that clear-cut or specific; in fact, I think it most likely leans the other way, towards "Federal representatives in both houses should hold only Australian citizenship". I can see that sets an additional barrier for some and not others - particularly, it would tend to exclude people whose cultural identity is tied up with [citizenship | the right to citizenship] of another nation - but, arguably, that is its point: to ensure that representatives in a country's parliament owe allegiance only to that country, and no other.

However, that barrier aside, the issue could probably easily be satisfied by a declaration made at the time of nomination: "I hereby renounce wholly [or 'objure for the duration of my candidacy and any subsequent service', take your pick] any citizenship or allegiance to any country or power other than Australia, its Parliament, its Citizens, and its People whom I endeavour to represent".
posted by Pinback at 9:14 PM on October 29


However, that barrier aside, the issue could probably easily be satisfied by a declaration made at the time of nomination ....

No, because the declaration would have to be communicated to the county(s) of which the candidate may be a citizen, or entitled to the rights of citizenship. And heaven help you if you have the wrong email address. It's not necessarily cheap, either: if you think you may be a UK citizen it will cost you £321 to renounce your citizenship. I presume other countries also have charges, so you can't just fire off letters to every address on Embassy Row or wherever. And note, this is just theatre to show that you're serious: if a country actually denied your right to renounce your citizenship you'd be OK; it's the ones that would have let you that are the problem.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:31 PM on October 29


OK, this is getting a bit silly now: Stephen Parry, Senate President and the one who referred the 6 upper house folks to the High Court is himself gorne for being a soap dodger.
posted by hawthorne at 10:24 PM on October 30


Stephen Parry, Senate President and the one who referred the 6 upper house folks to the High Court is himself gorne for being a soap dodger

is this real life
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:28 PM on October 30


And here is Senator Brawndo just 2 days ago saying no reason to think there's anything more to see here.
posted by hawthorne at 11:36 PM on October 30


This article lists nearly a dozen other MPs who be in the same boat. It's just ridiculous. And if I understand the judgment correctly, you can be disqualified by foreign citizenship laws that changed after you were born. So if you're a foreigner or descended from foreigners, you'd better be on top of the citizenship legislation of every relevant nation - in my immediate family that would be at least eight, and I think I myself have a good claim to three of those. Never mind that I don't speak the languages or that citizenship law in each nation is its own legal specialty; the High Court thinks that this would be a reasonable inquiry for a prospective candidate.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:28 AM on October 31


And yet, Joe, not a single Alp member has been thus far been caught in this cosmopolitan net, which makes me wonder if it's actually quite so hard as all that.

I do agree the law could be refined at the least, but both parties have had ample opportunity do so and not bothered. I don't know how well it would play to be honest.
posted by smoke at 3:48 AM on October 31 [1 favorite]


The article I linked identifies six Labor MPs (as well as five more Lib/Nat ones) that are potentially dual citizens.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:19 AM on October 31


That article is a pretty transparent attempt to make it about "both sides". In all the other cases, evidence of a problem was produced or the pollie fessed up. We'll see I suppose, but Penny Wong? No way.
posted by hawthorne at 5:51 AM on October 31


I don't think Penny Wong should have to prove that she isn't really a secret Malaysian, but I'd have said the same for people with British connections. Now the gates are opened and every two-bit racist on a preselection committee will have the chance to quiz people about their racial background.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:33 PM on October 31


Meh it's a News article, I'll believe it when I see it. Rest assured if the libs thought any labor mp was dual they would have referred them. Wong herself has said several times that she isn't: I take her word over newscorp.
posted by smoke at 1:13 PM on October 31


Now the gates are opened and every two-bit racist on a preselection committee will have the chance to quiz people about their racial background.

Believe me, two bit racists have been doing this for time immemorial. This changes nothing.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:13 PM on October 31


And yet, Joe, not a single Alp member has been thus far been caught in this cosmopolitan net, which makes me wonder if it's actually quite so hard as all that.

A friend of mine is going through Labor preselection now. She reports that their vetting includes considering dual citizenship, and has for many, many years. This is why none of Labor have been caught up in this nonsense. IIRC, Bill Shorten wrote to Mal saying as much.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:17 PM on October 31 [2 favorites]


ALP vetting is beyond professional - it's savage in a way that only a factional system that requires co-convenors to authorise opening a pack of iced vo-vos can be. But they miss relevant stuff sometimes - Billy Gordon being a recent important example.
posted by hawthorne at 12:27 AM on November 1


Three people appear before an ALP preselection committee. One was born in Australia to parents also born in Australia. One says that he was never told who his father is, although his older sister (who happens to be a member of the Liberal Party) says that she knows, having asked their mother on her deathbed. A third says that she is the great-granddaughter of someone born in Poland. There is no record of their great-grandfather having been naturalised in Australia, or any of the intervening ancestors having (e.g.) joined the British or Australian army. A friend suggested that she might therefore be a Polish citizen. She is aware that she can renounce Polish citizenship, but the matter is complicated because she isn't sure exactly where in Poland he was born. It's possible that his place of birth is or was Germany, or at some point was Austria-Hungary. Also, it takes a petition to the Polish President and the process can take some years.

Q: Does the preselection committee even consider choosing anyone other than the dinky-di true-blue Aussie whose parentage is undisputed, and whose nationality status is not in any doubt?
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:19 AM on November 1


That is a ... pretty naive view of how preselections work Joe. The scenario you describe would basically never happen.
posted by smoke at 1:49 AM on November 1 [1 favorite]


Work with me, Smoke, the precise mechanics aren't important. I'm pretty sure that no major Australian party would now preselect someone whose parentage is unknown or who otherwise has any real chance of inheriting dual citizenship.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:04 AM on November 1


The Italian citizen decision seems to take care of the Polish citizen one handily; if the county in question can't tell if you have citizen rights them it doesn't count. Especially since the court referred specifically to countries where citizenship can proceed indefinitely outside the country.

And when you start constructing bizarre trolley problems like the sister one, it looks pretty silly.
posted by tavella at 6:25 AM on November 1


(And I suspect given the tenor of these decisions that the court would say that if there isn't a father's name on your birth certificate it doesn't matter what hijinks your sister tried to execute.)
posted by tavella at 6:35 AM on November 1


The court's view of Canavan's citizenship is necessarily confined to the facts of Italian law, possibly even the facts of this case. It came down to a question of whether registration of Italian citizenship by descent was declaratory (i.e. Canavan would always have been Italian) or substantive (registration is effectively an application for citizenship to be activated). Luckily the Court decided that on the evidence before it the registration is substantive, but this definitely doesn't imply that other countries or even other cases will be treated similarly. I mentioned Poland specifically because it vigorously pursues people it believes to be its citizens:
Poland has been enforcing with varying stringency its claims to citizenship allegiance from descendants of Polish emigrants and from recent refugees from Polish Communism who became naturalized in other countries. Under a particularly strict enforcement policy, named by the Polish expatriate community the "passport trap", citizens of the United States, Canada, and Australia were prevented from leaving Poland until they obtain a Polish passport.

As for the problem of illegitimate or adopted children, well. You're mistaken if you think this is uncommon or far-fetched. I expect that every preselection for a major party will involve the candidate being asked who their parents are, and if they don't know, they'll be asked who does know. Maybe people will be preselected if literally nobody knows, but otherwise their unknown parentage is potentially a threat to their election.

I don't know why people are so invested in the idea that this isn't a problem, no sirree, and it was just a case of people being careless. Personal lives are messy, citizenship law is complex, and any party would be crazy to preselect someone vulnerable to a challenge. At the very least, this decision means that many Australians have to spend thousands of dollars in travel, legal, and/or government fees before standing for election. At worst, it means that some people will always be vulnerable to challenge once elected. It's a bad outcome that needs to be fixed in the nterests of an egalitarian, multi-ethnic Australia.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:35 PM on November 1 [1 favorite]


At the very least, this decision means that many Australians have to spend thousands of dollars in travel, legal, and/or government fees before standing for election.
IIRC, Dastiyari spent something like $25 000 on trying to renounce his Iranian citizenship.
It's a bad outcome that needs to be fixed in the nterests of an egalitarian, multi-ethnic Australia.
The what now?
posted by hawthorne at 4:51 AM on November 2


And now Josh Frydenberg is under a cloud according to the Oz!

I suppose the upside of that is that it takes the focus off Parry dumping on his colleagues who told him in August to keep quiet - he's shaping up as a real competitor to Roberts as the stupidest in show.
posted by hawthorne at 5:00 AM on November 2


Frydenberg is another interesting case. From what I understand, his grandparents arrived in Australia as stateless Holocaust refugees, but at some point Hungary passed a retrospective law granting citizenship to everyone born there between 1941 and 1945. Frydenberg's mother was born in Hungary in 1943; consequently she became Hungarian after she had arrived in Australia without any action on her part. Frydenberg is the son of a Hungarian, so my understanding is that he would be Hungarian too. It's possible the High Court might say that the process of registering Hungarian ancestry is substantive and not merely declaratory, but having looked into this once I have my doubts.

And according to two constitutional lawyers approached by The guardian 'Reasonable steps' to renounce foreign citizenship may not be enough. That seems intuitively correct to me : the Constitution doesn't talk about reasonable effort but about facts. If someone really is a dual national then they can't be elected, or even nominated, and that's the end if it.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:08 AM on November 3


but at some point Hungary passed a retrospective law granting citizenship to everyone born there between 1941 and 1945.

At some point apparently being 2011! After he was elected in Kooyong. Crazy stuff. Hard to imagine that he'd be required to check with his mum each week whether she's retrospectively picked up citizenship of a country she fled through.

Of course, current events in PNG and the fact that pollies have had since the early 80s to do something about this limit my sympathy a tad. But I certainly recall when this was a vague consideration for me: realising I'd have to give away some of the rights of my (then) unborn children if I wanted to run -- and that made me feel a bit of a second class citizen.
posted by hawthorne at 4:11 AM on November 4 [2 favorites]


The slow-motion train wreck rolls on:
Labor MP Justine Keay admits she was British at time of 2016 election

Keay did renounce her citizenship before nominations, but these things take time and her renunciation certificate is dated a week after the 2016 election. There are other politicians who may have similar problems, including Iranian-born Sam Dastyari who says he spent $25,000 to renounce his citizenship of a country from which his parents fled.

On the other hand, it's possible that Pauline Hanson is actually a foreigner, which is pretty hilarious.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:59 AM on November 8




Labor must be so pissed; it's a marginal seat and the legal team told her to renounce in Feb; she didn't start until May.
posted by smoke at 3:39 PM on November 9


From the Australian Jewish News, an editorial which makes an important moral point. It's not a good point from a legal perspective, unfortunately, which shows why the Constitution needs amending.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:55 PM on November 9


TIL that Scott Ludlam debuted the word omnishambles into Australian politics. How fitting.
posted by unliteral at 3:55 PM on November 12


And… there goes Lambie.
posted by unliteral at 4:42 PM on November 13


Hollie Hughes declared ineligible to replace Nash.
posted by hawthorne at 9:15 PM on November 14


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