Denying dual citizenship is a double-edged sword | The Australian

The Australian debate on citizenship revocation. Similar to that on C-24 revocation provisions. Commentary by Ben Saul, an international law professor at University of Sydney:

Finally, stripping citizenship is unnecessary because Australia has enough laws to deal with the threats. Since 9/11, the Australian parliament has been among the most hyperactive counter-terrorism lawmakers on the planet.

Australians who fight overseas can be prosecuted for innumerable offences, including terrorism, war crimes, crimes against hum­anity and foreign incursion. Prosecution takes terrorists off the streets altogether, and does not ­irresponsibly shunt them on to other countries. It also ensures ­decisions are made based on evidence with judicial safeguards. Stripping citizenship based on untested intelligence about what a person is doing overseas risks miscarriages of justice.

Instead of prosecution, federal police can apply for control orders to prevent terrorism by restricting a person’s freedoms. In emergencies, preventive police detention is available, and ASIO has questioning and detention powers. Other powers range from surveillance to passport cancellation.

Governments are often tempted to reach for new laws when ­security is threatened. Intelligence agencies never say they have enough power or stop asking for more. Giving more power to the government, and making citizenship more provisional, is not the answer.

The answer lies in ­better intelligence and action to prevent people leaving, and in bringing them home to prosecute them.

Denying dual citizenship is a double-edged sword | The Australian.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

2 Responses to Denying dual citizenship is a double-edged sword | The Australian

  1. Victoria says:

    “action to prevent people leaving”? That flies in the face of Article 13 (2) “Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country. “

    • Andrew says:

      I still prefer this kind of preventive action than revocation. The question is what kind of process is made to determine that someone should be prevented from leaving and what kind of safeguards against abuse.

      We do prevent people from leaving in case they have been charged with a crime, I believe, even if they have not been convicted.

      While citizenship is a right, a passport has more restrictions.

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