Joint media release - The Hon Tony Abbott MP, Prime Minister,and the Hon Peter Dutton MP, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection.
TheCommonwealth Government intends to update the Australian Citizenship Act 2007so dual nationals who engage in terrorism can lose their citizenship.
The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection will be able to exercisethese powers in the national interest where a dual citizen betrays our countryby participating in serious terrorist-related activities.
The new powers will apply to dual citizens who fight with or support groupssuch as ISIL, or Daesh, as well as so-called ‘lone wolves’, whether inAustralia or on foreign soil.
The changes will be consistent with our international legal obligation not toleave a person stateless. There will also be safeguards, including judicialreview, to balance these powers.
These new powers are a necessary and appropriate response to the terroristthreat. They modernise our laws and bring them closer to those of the UK,Canada, France, the United States and other countries.
Since 1949, Australians with dual citizenship who fight for a country at war withAustralia have forfeited their citizenship.
There should be no difference in how we treat Australians who join a hostilearmy and those engaged in terrorism – both are betraying our country and don’tdeserve to be citizens of Australia.
Regardless of how we gain our citizenship, it is an extraordinary privilegewith rights and responsibilities for all of us.
Our success as a nation is underpinned by a commitment by all Australians to alaw abiding, peaceful and open society. In an environment in which terrorism isreaching out to our community, we need to ensure this is well understood.
So the Commonwealth Government will launch a national consultation to improveunderstanding of the privileges and responsibilities of Australian citizenship.
I have askedthe Parliamentary Secretary for Social Services, Senator the Hon ConcettaFierravanti-Wells, and the Hon Philip Ruddock MP to lead the consultation.
Senator Fierravanti-Wells will undertake this task as the newly appointedParliamentary Secretary to the Attorney-General, in addition to her currentrole.
This alignment of Senator Fierravanti-Wells’ duties will strengthen the linkbetween existing Department of Social Services programmes and the Government’sbroader strategy for countering violent extremism.
I have asked Mr Ruddock to undertake this task as my Special Envoy forCitizenship and Community Engagement.
A national conversation about citizenship will enable us to consider whetherthe rights and responsibilities of citizenship are well understood and how wecan better promote these, including among young Australians.
The consultation will seek the public’s views on further possible measures,including the suspension of certain privileges of citizenship for thoseinvolved in serious terrorism.
A consultation paper on Australian citizenship and further information on thesubmissions process can be found on the Australian citizenship page.