ANU Law scholars urge Australian government scrap citizenship amendments

Three scholars from the ANU Law School have told a Parliamentary committee that the Australian government should abandon a bill that would remove citizenship from dual nationals convicted of terrorism offences.

This was the first among five recommendations Professor Kim RubensteinAssociate Professor Matthew Zagor and Dr Dominique Dalla-Pozza made in their submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security.

On 30 January Professor Rubenstein and Dr Dalla-Pozza also appeared before the committee’s Canberra hearing into the Australian Citizenship Amendment (Strengthening the Citizenship Loss Provisions) Bill 2018.

“The most appropriate option would be for the Parliament to abandon this bill,” the scholars’ submission said.

“While we agree with the Government that terrorism does represent a significant threat to Australia’s national security, and it’s important that Australia’s legislative framework be regularly reviewed and adjusted to ensure that Australians remain safe, we believe the particular legislative changes contained within the Bill inappropriately use citizenship law to achieve purposes which are more appropriately achieved using the criminal law.”

The scholars also cautioned that the Bill had the “potential to undermine the way that citizenship can advance a cohesive community committed to the rule of law and will not assist in achieving the important policy objectives the Bill is purported to advance in reducing terrorism and its impact on Australians.”

They also warned that the legislation risked breaching Australia’s international legal obligations not to arbitrarily deprive a person of their nationality or render them stateless.

The academics’ submission (#13) can be downloaded from the Joint Committee’s site.

The Bill was introduced to Parliament in late November 2018.

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