134 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. Boy, are we having a good ol’ time supporting “Team Austraya”. In a breathtaking combination of a pincer manoeuvre and encroachment, the Bovva Boyz have taken us down the path to fascism: on the one claw, we have significant mass surveillance, coopting of mobile devices, and opacity as to the who, where, when, why of it all; on the other claw, we have the noodle notion of chucking out those (ex-) citizens who we suspect, or potentially could suspect, of being alleged to having an intelligence dossier of hearsay and hooop-goop associating them with other potentials who might be reading up on how to be a terrorist, or something. This is the pincer.

    Next is the encroachment strategy, an old debating trick,which is to start off by making a simple but appealing argument for a mild change at the margins, such as revoking Aussie citizenship of dual nationals deemed to (have an intelligence dossier full of hearsay and lickspittle claiming they might be associated with terrorists, or gosh darn) be actual terrorists. The kind of dossier which has no chance of being tested as being in basis of fact, of being evidential in nature, for it is effectively protected from ever seeing the light of day in a court of law—thanks Bill Shorten and Tony Abbott, h/t George Brandis. I mean, what’s the harm? They have another citizenship, so they aren’t stateless or anything.

    Then comes the encroachment part of the strategy: now we add the children of dual citizens; oh, that didn’t cause waves either? Lets add actual Australians who have several generations of Australian ancestors to the list: after all, if they are terrorists, then why should we keep ’em here?

    Child molesters are the next ones to get chucked on the list of de-Aussied. Who can object?

    Multiple homicide suspects: saves a lengthy trial and incarceration at taxpayers expense. Oh, and did we mention the super secret dossier that noone is allowed to admit to or to sneak a peek at?

    Angry protesters. They keep breaking things and make it hard to keep the peace.

    Protesters. They clutter up the streets and make peak hour hell.

    Whistleblowers. Judases the lot of ’em.

    Journos. yeah, you know who you are.



    Bad debtors.

    fine evaders.

    graffiti artists


  2. Revocation of Australian citizenship is one of the most serious sanctions we could apply to someone; if we allow the application of this sanction without having a judicial process to first test the allegations against the individual(s) concerned, and to establish that the sanction is appropriate, then we are saying that citizenship of Australia isn’t important enough to warrant the protection of the legal system. Is that the kind of Australia we want to live in?

    If I were a dual citizen, and I travel overseas on a legitimate holiday and the government gets it into their head that I’m troublesome—perhaps I organise international protests against the government’s treatment of boat arrival asylum seekers, for instance—I could find myself rendered stateless by a simple ministerial decision. All the minister will need is a dossier which links me, however tenuously, with a group they’ve proscribed as terrorist, and I’m stuck without a paddle in the thick of it.

    My fear is that this argument being mounted by the government is being steered towards the government being able to revoke citizenship of any Australian. Perhaps the risk of this eventuating is small, but I don’t think it is negligible.

  3. @Donald Oats

    If you were a dual citizen and had Australian Citizenship revoked you would still have citizenship with the other country so you would not be stateless. Sorry, just being pedantic. However, if that other state was say the UK and they did a reciprocal “domino deal” with Australia, they might revoke your UK citizenship after Australia revoked Australian citizenship.

    The concept of revoking citizenship would only make some (small) sense if the citizenship grant in the first place was probationary in some way. Continuing on from that, there is no sensible way that Australian citizenship for a baby born in Australia to Australian citizens could be in any fashion probationary. This would leave probationary citizenship only for new Australian immigrants.

    This latter idea might would also throw up significant practical and legal difficulties including difficulties with international law and treaties. On balance, this idea of revoking citizenship is a very bad idea. Probably it’s a captain’s call like the other idiot ideas we get from Captain Catastrophe (aka Tony Abbott).

  4. I re-post a comment I made to a piece elsewhere a few months ago:

    Citizenship in Australia was established by federal statute in 1948/9, and has been amended several times since. In the USA, citizenship is defined in the 14th amendment to the constitution: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Thus, American citizens cannot be arbitrarily “stripped” of citizenship by the government of the day — They can, however, voluntarily renounce citizenship.

    The protections afforded American citizens through the 14th amendment are absent in Australia. The Australian government may change the laws regarding citizenship almost at will, and enforce those laws how they like.

    Although the current threat is to revoke the Australian citizenship of dual nationals who violate government policy by fighting for terrorist groups abroad, there is a broader risk to Australian citizens through government action that I draw to your attention by an example.

    Recall the case of the journalist Wilfred Burchett, a native-born Australian with Australian-born parents. Clearly, he was a Australian citizen. After the Second World War, Burchett traveled widely around Europe and Asia during the “cold war” writing about world events from a left wing perspective. He traveled on British passport which predated the Citizenship Act. Burchett was a communist sympathizer and it is alleged he was a Soviet agent paid by the KGB. Thus, he was not popular with the anti-communist governments Australians elected and reelected in the post-war period. When Burchett lost his passport in Vietnam during the 1950s, he was was denied an Australian passport by successive conservative Governments for almost 20 years. He was trapped abroad unable to return home, rendered stateless, and effectively stripped of Australian citizenship because his political views were offensive to successive Australian governments. Nor did those governments choose to repatriate Burchett to face criminal charges in Australia, no doubt fearing the outcome.

    My point is that because Australian citizenship is not protected by constitutional provisions, it is vulnerable to the political whims of the government of the day. As the Burchett case shows, it is not only dual citizens who should be concerned.

  5. @JKUU
    I agree. Burchett’s case is a salutary lesson on what can happen. Hicks and Habib are two other examples of the kind of situation an Australian might be caught up in, only to be found not guilty of breaking any Australian law (whatever we think of their alleged or actual misbehaviour). If either of them had had their citizenship revoked, they would have been in a much graver situation than what did transpire, which was bad enough.

    In some ways, making terrorism this big exception, where we revoke citizenship instead of punishing them in Australia, for crimes committed against Australia and/or its citizens, actually prevents justice being done. If an Australian citizen committed an atrocity against Australians abroad, I’m sure the survivors and families in Australia would want to see justice served—in Australia. Revoking citizenship makes it more difficult to organise extradition from another country back to Australia, I would imagine.

    My view is that if they are Australians at the time of committing a crime (under Australian law), then see justice served on them in Australia. Tampering with citizenship is invariably a political statement.

  6. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/27/goodbye-citizenship-australia-takes-a-cynical-turn-on-muslim-radicalisation

    From a brief reading the comments section in this particular article in the Guardian, I find it particularly worrying that it seems not only the right but also some of the left (at least those who comments in the Guardian) in Australia are falling to this fear/scaremongering campaign about Muslims. Some comments are reaching a point that it feels like I’m reading the comment section of Murdoch papers.

    As of right now Australia’s economy is not in a good shape but it is not technically in a recession/depression either. If a recession/depression happens, which usually causes portions of population to start directing irrational hate towards a particular group who are ‘different’ to them; I would not even want to see the sort of irrational hatred that will be directed towards Muslims in Australia.

    P.S. I’m an atheist.

  7. The photo accompanying this article on revoking of citizenship shows clearly that it is a six flag bill they are putting to parliament. That makes it a very Australian bill indeed. Is this a flag record for a bill?

  8. Eastern Grey Kangaroos shockingly killed at Boneo, Mornington Peninsula, Australia

    On the early evening of Tuesday the 26 of May, the tranquil peace at Boneo was broken by the sounds of over 100 gun shots.

    The farm responsible for these shots was carrying out a kangaroo cull. However in order to carry out the cull they had to trespass on Melbourne Water land to get the kangaroos back on the farm.

    As you can see in image 1.1 there is no available food on the farm as it has been cleared (cleared very recently in fact).

    The tree line behind the cleared land is Melbourne Water land where the kangaroos are seeking refuge.

    A couple of witnesses have claimed that they saw dogs released onto the adjoining Melbourne water land to chase the kangaroos back on the farm where they could be shot. Unfortunately 2 young joeys didn’t make it off the Melbourne Water land as they were killed by the dogs (see image 1.2 below of a joey carcass).

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