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Tuesday, 1 December 2015
Page: 9515

Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (21:28): Two points. First of all, you are right: the bill only applies to dual citizens. The reason for that is that Australia has since, I think, about 1962 been a party to the UN convention on statelessness, which basically says that no Australian parliament shall pass a law with the effect of rendering a person stateless. We adhere to the provisions of that convention. We respect that convention and, therefore, because that is a very considerable limitation, as you rightly say, on the way in which a loss-of-citizenship law can work, we have specifically limited this to dual citizens.

In the case of a person who has Australian citizenship only and therefore to whom these provisions could not apply, because of the statelessness convention, we have the armoury of the criminal law, particularly those provisions of the Commonwealth Criminal Code which create specific terrorism offences and which also create certain unusual mechanisms such as preventative detention orders and control orders, which are other mechanisms to keep our community safe. We are adopting a belts-and-braces approach: wherever we can find a way of keeping the community safer consistently with the law, we want to enact it.

Progress reported.