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Monday, 23 November 2015
Page: 13319


Mr CRAIG KELLY (Hughes) (18:47): I am pleased to rise and speak on the Australian Citizenship Amendment (Allegiance to Australia) Bill 2015. To have Australian citizenship either by birth or by migration to this country is a decision that you would have made by yourself or your parents would have made and it is the equivalent of winning Lotto. We can never take for granted the enormous and wonderful opportunities that are given to everyone who has Australian citizenship. At all times we should talk about the importance of Australian citizenship, the opportunities it provides and why allegiance to our nation is an important factor.

Sadly, there are too many in this country who worship the tyranny of political correctness. They like to have some loathing of our nation; they like to mock our traditions and our heritage. They do enormous harm to our nation. One of the threats to this country comes from the radicalisation of people who are actually Australian citizens. What causes that radicalisation? One of the main causes of radicalisation of young people lies in thinking that the Australian nation is not a good nation and thinking that we are somehow a racist nation. When they hear such talk that demonises our country, we need everyone in this parliament to call that language out.

Recently the Grand Mufti of Australia issued a very disappointing press release that talked about the causative factors of terrorism; one of those factors is those who loathe this country and who talk our country down. We need to do the opposite: we need to talk up our country for all the things that are good about it. People like to say that we are somehow racist or that we are Islamophobic, but look at the evidence—look at the wonderful achievements of people of the Muslim faith here in Australia. We have Muslim people elected to our parliaments and our local councils. They are elected as mayors and they are elected in areas where the Muslim population is a minority—the non-Muslim majority of those areas have decided that they will elect a Muslim person to represent them. How can that happen when we are a racist country? We have Muslim people who are captains of our industries and who have gone on to be CEOs of our largest corporations. They are elected to our national sporting teams simply on ability and merit. We have Muslim people who are successful entrepreneurs, who have achieved senior ranks in our Defence Force, who have been popular entertainers and commentators in our media. We have had people of the Islamic faith who have won beauty pageants. We cannot have achieved all those things, if at the same time people see that we are racists and Islamophobic. We need to call those things out and we need to say the things that are happening in our nation.

We also need to call out people who attack our Defence Force. Our Defence Force should never be described as being involved in 'foreign military interventions'. Our ADF personnel currently in Iraq are there at the request of the legitimate Iraqi government. They are not there for territory or conquest; they are there risking their lives to protect innocent civilians from beheadings and rapes. We should talk up the wonderful contributions of our Defence Force and how they risk their lives to spread peace and democracy in other parts of the world.

It is the same in this parliament. When we introduce anti-terror legislation we do not do so as a distraction from budgetary issues—we do it because on the best advice and the best intelligence that we have from our security and police forces it is needed. When our police conduct anti-terror raids, it is not some conspiracy to single out people from the Islamic community. Our police conduct those anti-terror raids because, again, on the intelligence that has been made available they need to take action to keep safe all Australians irrespective of what religion they come from. That is why our police engage in these activities. Where we see poverty and backwardness in the Middle East, it is not because of Western oppression—it is because these countries for decades have lacked free market policies, they have been governed by despotic rulers and they have had corruption and cronyism throughout their economies. That is why these nations are backwards and have not enjoyed the prosperity that many nations in the West have.

If we are talking about the importance of allegiance to Australia, we should set out what that actually means and we should hold up the values that we say we want citizens to have and to hold in this country. I would like to go through a few of them. First, all citizens should have respect for our traditions, our heritage and our democracy. We should have due respect for our national anthem. We should say that it is not acceptable for any group, in any circumstances, to walk out of any event when the national anthem is being played. We should say that we should have due respect for Anzac Day, and all institutions in this country should respect and commemorate Anzac Day. We should stand up and say that one of our Australian values is that women in this country have equal rights, that girls have the right to education and to go on to whatever career they want. They are free to choose whoever they wish to marry. We should say that the practice of female genital mutilation is a medieval, barbaric practice that is against the law of this nation and that those who engage in that practice or aid and abet it will end up behind bars for a long, long time. We should say that the values of this country are about free speech and that one of the rights you do not have in this country is the right to demand the obliteration of things that cause offence. The possibility of being offended is one of the small disadvantages of having all these rights in this country. The values of this country are also about freedom of religion. Freedom of religion includes the right to renounce your religion or to change religion or to criticise a religion. There is also a commitment to speak the English language. If we want to have a successful, inclusive multicultural society, it is important that when people go out in the shops or the streets or the clubs or the bars or the restaurants they can communicate with each other. That is why we should have a commitment to the English language. You simply cannot integrate into our society properly unless you can speak the English-language. These are the values that we need to be proud of and say that these are the values of our nation. If you want to come and call yourself an Australian citizen, these are the values that you should hold first and foremost.

I turn to the legislation. When dual citizens in this country do not have allegiance to our nation first and foremost it is absolutely correct that we take away that very valuable gift of Australian citizenship. This legislation does that under three circumstances. The first is renunciation by conduct. That applies to any person who is aged 14 years or older if they act inconsistently with their allegiance to our nation by engaging in specified terrorist related conduct. Such conduct includes engaging in international terrorist activities using explosive or lethal devices, engaging in a terrorist act, providing or receiving training connected with preparation for, engagement in or assistance in terrorism related activities, directing the activities of a terrorist organisation, recruiting for a terrorist organisation, financing terrorism or a terrorist, and engaging in foreign incursions and recruitment. Any dual citizen who engages in those activities does not deserve the rights and privileges that come with Australian citizenship.

The second category is service outside Australia in the armed forces of an enemy country or a declared terrorist organisation. If you want to go and serve overseas and take up arms against Australian Defence Force personnel, you do not deserve the right to have Australian citizenship. This bill correctly strips that right from people in this category with dual citizenship. The third provision is conviction for terrorism offences and certain other terrorism offences. If you are engaged in terrorist activity, the likes of which we have seen recently overseas—the beheading and murder of innocent civilians who are doing nothing more than watching a football match or going to a rock concert or enjoying dinner with family and friends—you do not deserve the rights and the privileges that come with being a citizen of Australia.

I commend all the other members who have spoken on the importance of this bill. Irrespective of what side of the House we sit on, every single one of us needs to call out those who try to demonise our Australian values. We need to stand up and say those Australian values are the things that have made us a successful and prosperous nation, and we need to work to continue to protect those values. I congratulate the minister for his work on this bill and the parliamentary committee that analysed it and made a few minor changes, and I also congratulate the opposition for coming on board and supporting the bill. I commend the bill to the House.