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The Forum > Article Comments > Lying about citizenship: Australian politicians before the high court > Comments

Lying about citizenship: Australian politicians before the high court : Comments

By Binoy Kampmark, published 28/8/2017

To read the section any other way, would result in a 'ridiculous' interpretation, one that would also disqualify up to half the population from sitting in Parliament.

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So the constitution of a banana-republic declares that eating bananas is a national disgrace and everyone caught with a mouthful there claims that it's not a banana in their mouth, but peppers. However, by opening their mouth to say so, the yellow colour shows. Oh well, they stutter, there are also yellow peppers...

Politicians are politicians, what else can we expect from them, but what's wrong with eating bananas in the first place?
Posted by Yuyutsu, Monday, 28 August 2017 9:59:16 AM
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A perfect summary of Australian politics and politicians in four sentences.

And, how ridiculous does Canavan now look? First, it was all mummy's fault (good excuse for a grown man). Then, lo and behold, we find out that he had been an Italian citizen since childhood, courtesy of an arrogant Italian bureaucracy/government who takes it for granted that it has some hold over people born in another country. What our useless government should be doing is telling these foreign countries that Australians are Australians, and that this dual citizenship bulldust is history.

But, back to Canavan: who could believe the man ever again? Even for a politician, his trustworthiness is zero. The only two, it hurts me to say, in this charade who have been honest and done the right thing are the two Greens; but they also are not fit to be any where near a parliament if they were unaware of Section 44 and their background. Same goes for Joyce, who hasn't had the decency to stand down.

Decency from a politician! What a silly thought!

And, how can even that dropkick, Turnbull say he is: "very, very confident that our members who have been caught up in this will be held by the court to be eligible to sit in the Parliament and therefore eligible to be ministers."?

Is he saying that the Australian Constitution means bugger-all, and that his mates in the High Court will help him out.

Parliament should be suspended until this matter is cleared up, even if the High Court judges find something in Section 44, that is not really there at all, as they have once before.
Posted by ttbn, Monday, 28 August 2017 10:27:23 AM
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This may be incredibly naive, but what if anybody seeking political office did two things: renounced any other citizenship but 'Australian' on a Stat Dec; and wrote to the embassy of any country of which he/she MIGHT be a citizen to inform them of this.

After all, some countries may have a rule that the children of a citizen, wherever they are born, is forever a citizen; and of course, therefore, THEIR children; and theirs; and theirs; ad infinitum.

My dear old granny was born in England, in the Hull workhouse at Sculcoates. I suspect that her alien status has been my primary reason for not being Prime Minister already. Many other earlier relations were born all over the British Isles, like most Australians of course. Most arrived here as guests of the Crown - nothing serious, just thieves. Should I write to the Irish embassy ? If Scotland gains its independence, should I write to theirs ? As for the poor Welsh, I should remain resigned to working through the 'British' embassy :)

Joe
Posted by Loudmouth, Monday, 28 August 2017 10:36:21 AM
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What ought prevail is the intention of the writers of the constitution at the time of writing!

And, I believe, the only possible interpretation is that, anyone deemed a british citizen by dint of birth in the UK or any of her colonies, was and remains acceptable! And ought carry the day, even today, I believe, for all reasonable men!

And interpreted by virtue of pragmatic commonsense and who was the head of state, as applicable to that member at the time of the member's election.

And if it was our head of state, then that ought, I believe, to qualify the member to both contest and sit!

If that is not doable, given some monumental anomaly or mischievous, vexatious interpretation. Then we probably need to reboot to 1770 and start from there. In which case only a couple would qualify or all comers!

There are only two obvious choices, open this can of worms to leave it wriggling for all time and cripple parliament! Or put to bed right now and forever, with an, any reasonable man interpretation!?
Alan B.
Posted by Alan B., Monday, 28 August 2017 10:49:52 AM
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Alan
At Federation the flag was the British flag of the King of Great Britain , India and Hong Kong. All changes to the Queen of Australia, flag , to right of entry to Poms Africans Chinese Indians Pakistani and Welsh would be unconstitutional . Governor Generals should be appointed by the monarch from aristocrats as Australians until 1930 were unsuited. USA is governed by City of London and also needs aristocrats for the counties.
Posted by nicknamenick, Monday, 28 August 2017 11:21:07 AM
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Damage done to the reputations of individual MP's is a mere sideshow.

Two issues matter far more.

Firstly, the Coalition's majority is at stake. I suggest that the fair and reasonable course of action is to prorogue (if that is the technically correct term) parliament until the issue is sorted. Possibly some will be thornier than others, but until it becomes clear that the government has the confidence of the House of Reps, it should at the very least refrain from making new laws, ie not sit.

Secondly, and potentially more explosive, are the potential consequences should a number of Cabinet members be found to have been ineligible to be elected. I couldn't give a hoot about their pay and entitlements. The primary matter at issue is whether some or all of the decisions that these folk made as Ministers are invalidated. Should they be wound back to the date of the election, or the date of them becoming aware that they were ineligible to be elected? Or, perhaps some other date or dates, perhaps decades?

Will the decision to relocate a government department to Armidale be found to be invalid? How many other thousands of decisions, large and small, might also be on shaky ground? This, it seems to me, is the most serious question, because it potentially opens a Pandora's Box of litigation across a range of government departments.

If so, it also sharpens the focus of those who may seek to have invalidated Ministerial decisions and actions taken by as-yet unidentified current or former ministers who have not fully complied with 44(i) of the Australian Constitution. The result would be widespread chaos.

Once started, where can it be stopped? Could it reach back beyond the last election? Decades?

Delicious, important and weighty questions, all. Far more important than assessment of Malcolm Roberts' intelligence, knowledge or honesty. The lawyers' picnic has begun.
Posted by SingletonEngineer, Monday, 28 August 2017 11:57:08 AM
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