How Australia stripped an Australian of her citizenship |

An Australian equivalent to ‘Lost Canadians’ as someone who was caught between the rules and procedures. Would seem a case for humanitarian and compassionate grounds to extend citizenship:

Mullan was born in New Zealand in December 1963 and adopted in Australia several months later, in March 1964. As an adult, she has always struggled with the heartbreaking narrative surrounding those events.

She was part of the “white stolen generation”, so-called to distinguish it from the Indigenous stolen generations, although the associated suffering was shared. In the five decades before 1982, the newborn babies of young, unmarried women were forcibly removed for adoption.

Mullan’s birth mother, from Queensland, had kept her pregnancy secret by staying with nuns in Auckland.

But when she and the father returned to Brisbane and sought assistance from the state government, it separated her from the baby and made her sign adoption forms under duress.

Mullan has since learnt from numerous relatives of her late mother’s desperate attempts to retrieve her.

Of her current plight, she asked: “If I was born to two Australian citizens, removed from them by the Queensland government and adopted out to two other Australians citizens, how can I not be a citizen?”

In a letter last December, DFAT formally denied her a full validity replacement passport because she could not present proof of citizenship through a citizenship certificate.

When she sought answers from passport personnel and the office of Immigration and Border Protection minister Peter Dutton, officials would only divulge that she was an “unintended consequence” of law changes that had affected a number of adopted people.

After she applied for her citizenship certificate, the DIBP deemed her paperwork invalid, stating in a letter that citizenship needed to be “acquired” by “conferral”.

She has since been advised to apply for the required evidence by paying A$190 to attend an interview, sit a test, swear her allegiance to Australia and attend a ceremony, where she would receive her certificate.

In the past few days, New Zealand has accepted Mullan’s application for a passport – and recognised her as a citizen – even though she only spent a week there after her birth. While she described her relief as immense, questions still surround her status in Australia when she returns.

A spokesman for Dutton said the department understood it could be distressing for long-term residents of Australia to discover they were not citizens “when they believed this to be the case for many years”.

Source: How Australia stripped an Australian of her citizenship |

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.

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