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Thursday, 3 December 2015
Page: 9942


Senator McKIM (Tasmania) (22:12): So we are setting up circumstances which may result in people remaining indefinitely in immigration detention without ever being charged with anything. It is worth placing that firmly on the record. Attorney, I am sure you would agree that there will inevitably be a time period between the commission of the conduct that results in the renunciation of citizenship and the minister reaching the awareness that he or she will need to reach before issuing a notice. I am also sure you are aware that there are other countries, and you have alluded to this in this debate, with similar provisions in place, although I do note that the new Prime Minister of Canada, Mr Trudeau, was elected on a promise to repeal very similar provisions from Canadian law. As he quite rightly said, he did not want to create two classes of citizenship, as you are proposing to do here, because he believed that all Canadians should be treated equally, as the Greens believe all Australians should be treated equally, but clearly neither Labor nor the coalition parties believe that all Australians should be treated equally, because you are creating two completely different classes of citizenship: one for sole nationals who, even if they are convicted of terrorism or commit any of the acts that would trigger the criteria in 33AA, would remain as Australian citizens, whereas dual nationals under these provisions would lose their citizenship. I want to put this scenario to you, Minister: someone is a dual national and both countries of which that person is a dual national have provisions similar to this in place—and you would be aware that there are other countries with similar provisions to this in place—and, given there is a time lapse between the conduct which triggers the automatic renunciation provisions and the issuing of a notice in Australia, what is going to happen?

How are you guarding against contravening the statelessness convention here, given that it would be feasible for conduct to be engaged in by a person which would trigger these provisions in each country? Is it a race to see who can deport them to the other country first? Of course, under the laws of the other country, if they have similar or identical provisions, that person would already not be a citizen because of the commission of the conduct. If the conduct is the same, they lose their citizenships at exactly the same time—on commission of the conduct that triggers the provisions in 33AA, in Australia's case, should this legislation be successful. So, if the person is a dual national and both countries have provisions similar to this in place, the person commits conduct and that conduct triggers loss of citizenship in both countries at the same time, aren't you in contravention of the statelessness convention here?