Citizenship mess is un-australian
Please, please! Can someone make the dual-citizenship scandal rocking Australian politics just go away?
We have a constitutional issue dating back 116 years, which no one seemed to worry about too much in the past, dismantling commonsense democratic process.
If only we had an ‘on’ or ‘off’ button that could fix the problem that in reality has the potential of bringing down a government.
As Australians, many of us can’t help but feel the foolishness oozing from debate at the highest level in the land with one of the most common questions coming from the average Australian being: “Who bloody cares?”
Unfortunately, this is a constitutional issue based on Section 44.1 that sits there in writing as clear as day. As part of the constitution you can’t be a federal parliamentarian if you hold dual citizenship and only the Australian people can change the rule by national referendum. Groan.
It makes you wonder what else is in our constitution that for some reason many of us Australians, unlike Americans, haven’t really cared too much about when it comes to the finer details.
We basically know how our governance works – it’s based on a Westminster system – but hands up if you have never bothered to have a look or were taught anything too deeply about the constitution, perhaps beyond the operations of parliament, at school.
This is a document that dates back to 1901 when royal families claimed ownership over large chunks of the world.
In recognising as much, we have since gone about our daily lives establishing an evolving Australian way of life. That’s too bad, apparently. Rules are rules and words are words, even when they work against the spirit of the original concept or idea.
Curiously, similar to politicians at the heart of this issue, many Australians probably unknowingly qualify as citizens of various other countries.
In some cases it can be the simple act of a foreign country changing its laws that can determine, automatically, that someone living in faraway Australia is one of their own.
That means if you are or want to become a federal politician you need to constantly check your status or risk breaking the law.
Bizarrely, much of the Australian debate depends on from whom people have descended, not from which country they were born, which goes against the ideals of free society.
What a mess. Some of us are starting to wonder what it might mean if descended from convicts?