News National Citizenship laws face spotlight

Citizenship laws face spotlight

International passengers should expect delays with strike action planned today. Photo: supplied
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Proposed laws to strip dual nationals of their Australian citizenship if they commit acts of terrorism could be applied retrospectively, under revised legislation to be presented to parliament today.

The plans were originally proposed by former prime minister Tony Abbott, but the Turnbull Government has since accepted almost 30 recommendations from Parliament’s cross party Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security.

Some aspects of the law will be able to be applied to dual nationals convicted of serious terrorism offences in the last decade that carried a 10 year or more jail term.

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Another contentious issue in the original proposal was criticism it was too broad in its potential application, and could result in dual nationals losing their citizenship for damaging or destroying Commonwealth property.

That aspect of the bill has now gone.

A dual national who engages in terrorist conduct automatically renounces their citizenship, but the bill now excludes people who are still in Australia and are yet to be convicted of any terrorism offence.

The committee heard a range of views and is expected to suggest changes to address concerns about it being in breach of the Constitution.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had previously stressed that she had concerns with retrospective laws.

“As a matter of principle, I don’t support retrospectivity,” Ms Bishop said in September.

“But there may well be circumstances in relation to the citizenship situation that would warrant consideration of that.

“My inclination is not to support retrospectivity, but there could well be compelling arguments that would require a review of that.”

The Opposition has said it would wait for the legislation to be presented before passing judgment, despite the committee which examined the bill being made up of some Labor members.


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