There’s emerging agreement that the proposed citizenship laws are probably headed for the High Court, where the Australian government’s ability to strip people of citizenship will likely be curtailed.
One citizenship for all Australians
Civil Liberties Australia Vice-President Tim Vines said Civil Liberties Australia believed the federal government was sorely mistaken if it believed it had the unilateral power to strip dual or solo citizens of their citizenship.
Mr Vines was speaking on 3ZZZ ethnic communities radio station, during a four-person interview session run by George Zangalis in late-June, just before heading to Brussels for an EU-sponsored ‘scholarship’ in early July.
Photo: Tim Vines (European Union 2015)
“Our constitution does not grant the executive (government) power to determine guilt or innocence and does not permit the executive to impose punishment without the finding of a court,” Mr Vines said.
“CLA is also concerned that proposed laws would introduce discrimination into Australian law with one law for sole citizens and another for dual citizens.
“Whether you hold one or more passports should not determine what justice you receive in Australia. All Australian citizens must be treated equally before the law,” Mr Vines said.
The need for one citizenship for all Australians and the primacy of the law was also highlighted by the president of the ACTU Ged Kearney, Shadow Minister for Immigration Richard Marles and the chairperson of the Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia, Joseph Caputo.
Ms Kearney said the ACTU was fiercely opposed to revocation of Australian citizenship, the enactment of any law that created two classes of Australian citizens and the empowering of a minister to be judge and jury. The ACTU, Ms Kearney said, would defend the rights of its members and indeed all Australians to their citizenship and the rule of law, including a High Court challenge.
Shadow Minister for Immigration Richard Marles acknowledged the government’s proposal to revoke citizenship had caused great anxiety among the community and especially the ethnic communities.
He invited people to publicly express their concerns and indeed opposition. He too stated there must be one citizenship and one law for all Australians and most certainly no minister should have the power to withdraw the citizenship of an Australian. A constitutional challenge would most probably be successful.
The ALP, he said, had many concerns about the bill.
Mr Caputo said the Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia (FECCA) believed that provision in the law for revoking the citizenship for dual nationals in Australia created two categories of citizens, also adversely affecting the social cohesion of Australian society.
FECCA is opposed to the Minister for Immigration having the power to revoke citizenship. Individuals should have a fair trial in accordance with the rule of law, Mr Caputo said. FECCA had circulated to its affiliates a position paper on this and other issues, such the language test for citizenship applicants and a new pledge of allegiance.
* The 3ZZZ program hosted by George Zangalis can be heard on Tuesday mornings between 8 and 9am.
This article was first published in ‘New Cosmos’, by Ethnic Publications Pty Ltd. Original article: http://tinyurl.com/ngzpnyn