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Labor offer citizenship support

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The Federal Opposition has confirmed it is likely to support proposed laws that will strip dual nationals involved in terrorism of their Australian citizenship, without pushing for any amendments.

Labor had reserved its position on the bill, waiting for the full text to become available.

Senior figures have told the ABC they have “no significant issues” with the bill, following briefings on the legislation on Wednesday evening, but are still waiting on final approval.

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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.

It is likely to come before the House of Representatives for debate on Thursday morning.

Constitutional law expert George Williams from the University of New South Wales has praised the government for adopting the amendments.

However, he said there was still significant room for improvement – particularly if the government wants to win any High Court challenge to the legislation.

“Many of the most obvious problems have now been remedied,” Professor Williams said.

“What we’ve done is move from one of the bills that’s been the worst draft introduced into Federal Parliament to now one that is still deeply flawed.

“It’s still possible under this legislation for the Government to unilaterally find that someone should have their citizenship stripped.

“That can happen without a court finding, in circumstances where effectively you have a member of the Government through the department visiting punishment or banishment upon a person.

“That does arguably breach the separation of powers in Australia, and bypasses the courts in a circumstance we would normally expect a court to be involved.”


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