federal member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker. 01 April 2015 Photo Trevor Veale / Coffs Coast Advocate
federal member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker. 01 April 2015 Photo Trevor Veale / Coffs Coast Advocate Trevor Veale

Hartsuyker backs changes to Citizenship Act

NATIONALS Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker has thrown his support behind a move by the Australian Government to update the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 so dual nationals who engage in terrorism can be stripped of their citizenship.

"The change to the Australian Citizenship Act will allow the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection to strip Australian citizenship from dual citizens who betray their allegiance to Australia by participating in serious terrorist-related activities," Mr Hartsuyker said.

"Australian citizenship is a privilege - as citizens we have obligations to our country, and participating in terrorist-related activities or serving in armed forces which are hostile to Australia will mean giving up that privilege.

"The new powers will apply to dual citizens who fight or support groups such as ISIL, or Daesh, as well as so-called 'lone wolves' engaged in terrorist acts, whether in Australia or on foreign soil.

"Since 1949, Australians with dual citizenship who fight for a country at war with Australia forfeit their citizenship. In the current age, there should be no difference in how we treat Australians who join a hostile army and those engaged in terrorism, as both are betraying our country and they should forfeit the privilege of being an Australian citizen.

"These powers are a reasonable response to the terrorist threat Australia is confronting, and bring us closer to laws in place in the United Kingdom.

"The Prime Minister has also announced that the Government will launch a national consultation about the privileges and responsibilities of Australian citizenship.

"Our success as a nation is underpinned by a commitment by all Australians to a law-abiding, peaceful and open society. In an environment in which terrorism is reaching out to our community, we need to ensure this is well understood.

"A national conversation about citizenship will enable us to consider whether the rights and responsibilities of citizenship are well understood and how we can better promote these, including among young Australians.

"The consultation will seek the public's views on the value of citizenship and further possible measures, including the suspension of certain privileges of citizenship for those involved in terrorist activities."

A consultation paper on Australian citizenship and further information on the submission process can be found at http://www.citizenship.gov.au



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