Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Labor gives green light to dual citizenship.

Labor Gives Green Light To Dual Citizenship

 

Con Sciacca - Shadow Minister for Immigration

 

Media Statement - 11 April 2000

 

Federal Labor has indicated strong support for a key recommendation by the Australian Citizenship Council in its report to the Federal Government, which would allow Australian born citizens to acquire dual citizenship.

 

Section 17 of the Australia Citizenship Act 1948 presently provides for automatic loss of Australian Citizenship upon acquisition of another country's citizenship. The Council has recommended that this section be repealed.

 

Shadow Minister for Immigration Con Sciacca said that the Citizenship Council, chaired by former Governor General Sir Ninian Stephen should be commended for its work and for recommending that dual citizenship be allowed, thus providing millions of Australians the same benefits already enjoyed by most migrants.

 

"We are now at a point where over 5 million foreign-born residents enjoy dual citizenship following their migration to Australia, while most people born in Australia would automatically lose their citizenship if they acquired a second nationality for social, employment or personal reasons," Mr Sciacca said.

 

Mr Sciacca said that under current law, Australian citizens living overseas are severely disadvantaged by not being able to acquire their new country's nationality while retaining their much loved Australian citizenship.

 

"Millions of Australians who trace their heritage from countries as diverse as the United Kingdom, Ireland, Greece, Lebanon and Italy but were born in Australia, currently face disadvantages in areas such as work rights, buying property, social and medical services if they decide to spend longer periods of time in their country of origin.

 

"Allowing dual citizenship is not about giving a few Australian special privileges, it's about allowing millions of Australians the same opportunity as those born overseas," Mr Sciacca said.

 

Mr Sciacca said that while in the past many arguments were presented against dual citizenship, today, broader acceptance of this concept reflects the reality of a diverse Australian society with 40% of the population either born overseas or being sons and daughters of migrants.

 

"Over the past 20 years, trade, culture, career opportunities and the effects of the Internet have become globalised and the argument in favour of dual nationality in the national interest has strengthened enormously - people born in Australia should not miss out on some of the benefits of a globalised economy," Mr Sciacca said.

 

The main arguments in favour of dual citizenship have essentially remained the same since the Federal Government in 1976 first consider the proposal. These include:

 

• The right of individuals to obtain passports from either country

• Simpler procedures for individuals revisiting former homelands for extended periods of time

• Ability to pursue employment opportunities in either country of nationality

• Improved rights to social benefits, to own land or property and to inherit assets from either country

• Entitlement to convey nationality rights to offspring

• Avoids disadvantages for residents such as paying taxes but not being able to vote

• Would enable Australia to appear a less insular member of the international community.

 

Mr Sciacca said that while most objections to dual citizenship have now been addressed on economic grounds, the major obstacle to the acceptance of dual nationality has always been the argument of allegiance to only one country.

 

"Now that the Government appointed Citizenship Council has strongly recommended that dual citizenship be allowed, I call on the Government to officially respond to their report and initiate the necessary changes to bring Australia in line with our peer nations on this important issue," Mr Sciacca said.

 

A list of the countries that both allow and prohibit dual citizenship is below.

 

Countries Which Allow Dual Citizenship

 

Bangladesh

Brazil

Canada

Colombia

Egypt

Federal Rep Yugoslavia

France

Hungary

Ireland

Israel

Italy

Jordan

Lebanon

Macedonia

Malta

Netherlands

New Zealand

Portugal

South Africa

Spain

Switzerland

Syria

Tonga

Turkey

United Kingdom

United States of America

Western Samoa

 

Countries Which Prohibit Dual Citizenship

 

Austria

Belgium

Brunei

Burma

Chile

China

Denmark

Ecuador

Fiji

Finland

Germany

Iceland

India

Indonesia

Iran

Japan

Kenya

Kiribati

Korea

Latvia

Lithuania

Malaysia

Mauritius

Mexico

Nepal

Norway

Pakistan

Papua New Guinea

Peru

Philippines

Poland

Romania

Singapore

Solomon Islands

Sweden

Thailand

Venezuela

Vietnam

Zimbabwe

 

Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.