It’s been one of Tony Abbott’s most confident proposals this year – keep terrorist Australians out at all costs.
What Abbott failed to realise at the time he promised this, was that there wasn’t much power behind that statement as it goes against the Australian constitution.
But regardless, 75 per cent of voters believe that sole Australian nationals who goes overseas to take part in terrorist activities should be stripped of their citizenship.
Now, the proposal is a part of a citizenship discussion paper controlled by senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells and veteran MP Philip Ruddock.
The exclusive Fairfax-Ipsos poll of 1402 voters found that not only is the proposal popular with politicians, voters like the idea of leaving these citizens high and dry in the event of their return.
Not surprisingly, 89 per cent of Coalition supporters back the measure, compared with 69 per cent of Labor voters and 49 per cent of Greens voters.
In a similar proposal, the Federal Government unveiled that they would attempt to strip the citizenship of dual Australian nationals, in an amendment of section 35 of the Australian Citizenship Act.
These two new laws, both of which are currently being examined by the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence and Security, would allow for “renunciation by conduct”, meaning that if an Australian engaged in terrorism against Australia, their citizenship would be automatically forfeited. Do you think this is fair?
There’s another option, and that would be “revocation by conviction”, which means the accused must stand trial and be convicted before losing their citizenship.
But the question of just where these sole national will go if they lose their passports is yet to be known, with Mr Abbott admitting, “That’s something which the government will reconsider, along with what might possibly be done in respect of people fighting with terrorist armies overseas who are wholly and solely Australian citizens,” he said.
This is because under international law, Australia is not able to render a person stateless.
Another suggestion in the discussion paper from Social Services Minister Scott Morrison is that those who want to come back to Australia after engaging in terrorist activity would lose their right to vote and receive assistance, instead of their citizenship.
So we want to know this afternoon…. should someone who engages in terrorist activity overseas be able to come back and live freely, have their rights stripped, or have their citizenship stripped?