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Citizenship loss bill should pass: Intelligence Committee

Issue date: Tuesday, 1 September 2020

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A parliamentary inquiry into the Australian Citizenship Amendment (Citizenship Cessation) Bill 2019 has recommended that the Parliament pass the bill with relatively few amendments, in a report tabled today.

Chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, Andrew Hastie, said the Committee acknowledges the role that citizenship loss can provide to keep Australians safe from terrorists.

‘The Committee’s report recommends and welcomes the move from an ‘operation of law’ model of citizenship loss to a ministerial decision model. As with many submitters the Committee is pleased that this increases the opportunity for persons affected by citizenship cessation provisions to seek judicial review and, in relation to an ASIO Qualified Security Assessment (QSA), merits review,’ Mr Hastie said.

The report recommends that the Explanatory Memorandum clarify that proposed section 36B of the Bill require the Minister to be ‘reasonably’ satisfied of the matters listed in proposed subsection 36B(1) before determining that a person ceases to be an Australian citizen and that the Explanatory Memorandum of the Bill clarify that under proposed section 36E(2) dealing with a public interest test before citizenship is ceased the Minister must take into account the following matters:

  • the likely effects of citizenship cessation on any dependents of the person whose citizenship the Minister is proposing to cancel;
  • a person’s connection to Australia; and
  • conduct that would be captured by Chapter 8 of the Criminal Code.

Mr Hastie emphasised the serious nature of crimes that could result in citizenship loss.

‘If dual-national Australian citizens resolve to harm, maim and kill their fellow citizens through acts of terror, then we must be prepared to impose costs for such behaviour,’ Mr Hastie said.

‘The offences for which a dual citizen may lose their citizenship include; international terrorist activities using explosive or lethal devices, treason, sabotage, espionage, foreign interference and offences associated with planning, preparation and carrying out terrorism. The lowest penalty for these offences is 10 years imprisonment with most attracting imprisonment of 25 years to life imprisonment.’

‘Those who choose the dark path of terrorism reject the gift and responsibilities of Australian citizenship.’ Mr Hastie said.

The report can be obtained from the Committee’s website.

Media enquiries

Chair, Mr Andrew Hastie MP (Canning, WA) on (08) 9534 8044 (Electorate office) or (02) 6277 4223 (Parliament House)

For background information

Committee Secretariat, Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security,
(02) 6277 2360

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