25 September 2023

Dodgy dual citizens to be banished at dawn

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A proposal to change Australia’s citizenship laws to banish dual citizens convicted of terrorism offences has been announced by the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison and Minister for Home Affairs, Peter Dutton.

The Ministers said they would seek to change the Australian Citizenship Act to ensure those found guilty of any terrorism offence in Australia could lose Australian citizenship irrespective of the sentence they receive.

They said that in a move similar to that enacted in the United Kingdom, Temporary Exclusion Orders would ban Australians involved in terrorism overseas from legally returning to Australia for up to two years.

Mr Morrison said the Government would do everything it could to stay ahead of the evolving threat of terrorism and keep Australians safe.

“The terrorist attack on Bourke Street in Melbourne on 9 November, and the recent arrests which thwarted an alleged terrorist attack, highlight once again the importance of robust measures to protect our community,” Mr Morrison said.

“Australia cannot be complacent.

“Our changes will make it easier to strip terrorists of their Australian citizenship.

“Terrorists forfeit their rights to be Australians when they carry out their evil acts.”

Mr Dutton said three more dual citizens had lost Australian citizenship under the existing legislation because of their involvement with terrorist organisations offshore, taking the total to nine. Now more needed to be done.

“We now need to focus attention on strengthening the citizenship loss provisions which commenced in 2015 as they relate to terrorists within Australia,” Mr Dutton said.

He said the proposed changes would enable the Minister to cease the citizenship of anyone who was convicted of a terrorism offence, irrespective of the sentence they received, overturning the current requirement they be sentenced to at least six years’ imprisonment.

“The Government will also change the threshold for determining dual citizenship,” Mr Dutton said.

“This change aims to improve the Minister’s scope to determine a person’s foreign citizenship status,” he said.

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