Regardless of whether a crime is proven, the minister for immigration will be allowed to strip the Australian citizenship of dual-nationals, under proposed amendments to the Citizenship Act.
The intended changes are reportedly aimed at people with links to terrorist groups. The government has started a broad review of Australian citizenship and is looking to tighten that grant criteria as part of its measure to counter radicalisation and safeguard the nation’s social cohesion, according to a report in The Australian.
“Under the legislation that we intend to introduce in the next few weeks, if the minister is satisfied …, he may, subject ultimately to judicial review, strip the Australian citizenship from those individuals and obviously they will then no longer have an entitlement to return to Australia,” announced Prime Minister Tony Abbot.
Dual-nationals stripped of their Australian citizenship by the Immigration Minister would be allowed to seek review of the decision to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and Federal Court.
The immigration minister will rely on the advice of intelligence agencies in the decision. Mr Peter Dutton, admitted that it will be “very difficult of course to gather sufficient evidence to satisfy an Australian court beyond reasonable doubt that that person committed that offence in that part of the world.”
Former attorney general and immigration minister, Mr Philip Ruddock has been appointed as a special envoy for citizenship and community engagement in the broader review of Australian citizenship. Mr Ruddock said: “We offer people respect for their race, their country of origin, their religion, their cultures, but we do have expectations that all who make a commitment to this nation and its future, will observe the laws of Australia. There is nothing new in that.”