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Australian Citizenship Amendment (Defence Service Requirement) Bill 2012

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2012

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australian Citizenship Amendment (Defence Service

Requirement) Bill 2012

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

and

STATEMENT OF COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Circulated by authority of

Stuart Robert MP



Australian Citizenship Amendment (Defence Service Requirement) Bill 2012

 

 

 

OUTLINE

Under the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 (Section 21(2)(c) and Section 23) a permanent resident may be granted citizenship after completing 90 days permanent service in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) or six months service in the Reserves.

These provisions are typically utilised by ADF ‘lateral transfer members.’ ADF lateral transfer members are persons who have served in another nation’s armed forces, typically the United Kingdom’s, and who have then migrated to Australia to join the ADF.

The problem with the current Act is while it provides for ADF lateral transfer members to be provided with ‘early’ citizenship, these provisions do not extend to the spouse or dependants of the lateral transfer member.

The current situation results in significant hardship for the spouse and dependants of lateral transfer members and can and does lead to discord within families of ADF lateral transfer members and can have severe negative financial implications for the member’s spouse in the event the member dies (on operations, undertaking training or otherwise)  or the couple divorce prior to the spouse and any dependants becoming citizens.

This Bill will amend the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 in such a way as to ensure that spouses and dependent children of ADF lateral transfer members are eligible for citizenship at the same time as the ADF lateral transfer member. 

This Bill will ensure that spouses and dependent children of ADF lateral transfer members, by virtue of their citizenship, will not unduly suffer, financially or otherwise, because of the ADF lateral transfer member’s death or because of divorce.

 

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

The bill will have no financial impact.

 

 

Clause 1 - Short title

 

This clause provides for the Bill to be cited as the Australian Citizenship Amendment (Defence Service Requirement) Act 2012 .

 

Clause 2 - Commencement

 

This clause sets out the commencement date of the Act.

 

Clause 3 - Schedules

 

This clause provides that each Act that is specified in a Schedule to this Bill is amended or repealed as set out in the applicable items in the Schedule.

 

Schedule 1 - Amendments

 

Amendment of the Australian Citizenship Act 2007

 

Item 1 - Paragraph 21(2)(c)

 

Item 1 omits the requirement, under general eligibility requirements, to have completed ‘relevant defence service’ as this is replaced under the new Section 23 of the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 with the requirement to have satisfied the ‘defence service requirement.’

 

 

Item 2 - Paragraph 21(3)(c)

 

Item 2 omits the requirement for a person with a permanent or enduring physical or mental incapacity to have completed ‘relevant defence service’ as this is replaced under the new Section 23 of the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 with the requirement to have satisfied the ‘defence service requirement.’

 

Item 3 - Paragraph 21(4)(d)

 

Item 3 omits the requirement for a person aged 60 or over or who has a hearing, speech or sight impairment to have completed ‘relevant defence service’ as this is replaced under the new Section 23 of the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 with the requirement to have satisfied the ‘defence service requirement.’

 

Item 4 - Section 23

 

Item 4 repeals the current Section 23 that stipulates that for the purposes of Section 21 ‘relevant defence service’ has been completed if a person has completed either:

a)     at least 90 days service in the permanent forces of the Commonwealth (Navy, Army or Air Force);

b)     at least six months service in the Naval Reserve, Army Reserve or Air Force Reserve; or

c)     was discharged from either permanent or reserve service because he or she became medically unfit for that service as a result of that service.

Item 4 replaces the current Section 23 of the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 with the new Section 23 as contained within the Australian Citizenship Amendment (Defence Service Requirement) Bill 2012 . This change reflects the core intent of the Bill.

The new Section 23 alters the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 , for the purposes of Section 21 of the Act, by extending the eligibility for citizenship to the spouse or de facto partner of a person who has completed ‘relevant defence service’ under the new Section 23(2).

The new Section 23 also alters the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 , for the purposes of Section 21 of the Act, by extending the eligibility for citizenship to the child of a person who has completed ‘relevant defence service’ under the new Section 23(2).

For the purposes of the new Section 23(1)(c)(i) and 23(1)(c)(ii) respectively, a child is defined as a person aged under 18 years of age and who is wholly or substantially dependent on the person who has completed ‘relevant defence service’; or a person who is a student aged 25 or under and is wholly or substantially dependent on the person who has completed ‘relevant defence service.’

Item 4 retains the existing definition of ‘relevant defence service’ as it appears under the current Section 23 of the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 .

 

 



STATEMENT OF COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

 

Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

 

 

Australian Citizenship Amendment (Defence Service

Requirement) Bill 2012

 

This bill is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

 

 

Overview of the bill

 

This Bill will amend the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 in such a way as to ensure that spouses and dependent children of ADF lateral transfer members are eligible for citizenship at the same time as the ADF lateral transfer member. 

The problem with the current Act is while it provides for ADF lateral transfer members to be provided with ‘early’ citizenship, these provisions do not extend to the spouse or dependants of the lateral transfer member.

The current situation results in significant hardship for the spouse and dependants of lateral transfer members and can and does lead to discord within families of ADF lateral transfer members.

This Bill will ensure that spouses and dependent children of ADF lateral transfer members, by virtue of their citizenship, will not unduly suffer, financially or otherwise, because of the ADF lateral transfer member’s death or because of divorce.

 

Human rights implications

 

This bill does not engage any of the applicable rights or freedoms.

 

Conclusion

 

This bill is compatible with human rights as it does not raise any human rights issues.

 

 

 

Stuart Robert MP