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Questions to

Mr. Peter Slipper
Federal Member for Fisher, Federal Government.

These questions relate to Australian Citizens with dual Nationalities?

(Sent  08.08.06)

1:   How long has it been that people have been able to hold dual Nationalities when becoming an Australian Citizen?

A.    Australia has always allowed people who become Australian citizens to retain their previous citizenship.

2:   How many people hold an Australian Citizenship along with another Nationality Citizenship?

A.   The Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs estimates that, as at June 2006 there are in-excess of five million Australian citizens who have, or may be eligible for, the citizenship of another country.

3:    What was the reasoning behind allowing people to hold dual citizenships?

A.    People can become dual citizens automatically, or after successfully applying for the citizenship of another country.  It is the result of the interaction of the laws of two countries.

Examples of ways in which people can become dual citizens automatically are:   A child born in Australia who also gains the citizenship of another country because of the citizenship of a parent or grand-parent, or an Australian citizen who automatically becomes the citizen of another country through marriage.

Examples of ways in which people apply for another citizenship are:

Australians who apply for the citizenship of another country because a parent or grand-parent is a citizen of that country; or Australians living and working overseas who apply for the citizenship of the country in which they are living; or migrants who apply for Australian citizenship whose country of origin allow them to retain their original citizenship.

4:  What requirements are placed on those people when it comes to making an allegiance to Australia?

A.     To become an Australian citizen a person is required to make the Pledge of Commitment which requires people to pledge their loyalty to “… Australia and its people whose democratic beliefs I share, whose rights and liberties I respect and whose laws I will uphold and obey”.   Refer further to the answer to question 8 below.

5:    If those people return to the other country of Nationality to live what Australian benefits do they retain?

A.    Generally, to qualify for a social security benefit, a person has to be an Australian citizen or permanent resident who is residing in Australia on a permanent basis.  A person generally needs to be a resident for two years before he/she becomes eligible for most payments.

6:    If they retain benefits what requirements are placed on them to allow them to retain those benefits?

A.    The Age Pension is the only pension that can be paid indefinitely overseas once granted, but the rate may be reduced after 26 weeks based on the amount of the pensioner’s working life spent in Australia.   To be eligible for an aged pension, applicants must have been resident in Australia for at least 10 years.    Under the ‘returned resident’ rule, if a person is granted an Age Pension it is not payable outside Australia if the person leaves Australia within two years of returning.

7:    In the case of differences between the Australia and the other country where is it expected that people who have dual citizenship would pledge their support?

A.    It is expected that people will honour the pledge that they made to become an Australian citizen – the words are set out in the answer to question 4.   One of the benefits of living in Australia is that it is acceptable for people to hold varying personal views on a wide range of topics and issues and pursue those views provided it is within the law.

8:    In the case of the individual being a person who is deemed to be a person not to be a person who should live in Australia what right has Australia to withdraw citizenship?

A.   The grounds for revocation of Australian citizenship relate to actions prior to the acquisition of citizenship, which if known may have resulted in the person not being becoming an Australian citizen.    All Australian citizens are equal under the law, and subject to the same laws.   A person cannot be deprived of their citizenship for actions taken after they became a citizen.

A person who is an Australian citizen by grant may be deprived of that citizenship in the following limited circumstances:

Citizenship fraud

The person has been convicted of an offence in relation to false representation in relation to their citizenship application; or the person applied for citizenship on or after 1 July 2007 and another person has been convicted of false representation in connection with the approval of the person becoming an Australian citizen; or

Serious offences

The person applied for citizenship on or after 22 November 1984 and has been convicted of a serious criminal offence in Australia or overseas, committed before the grant of citizenship, and sentenced to death or imprisonment for life or for a period of not less than 12 months.

This provision does not apply if deprivation would render the person stateless; or the person applied for citizenship on or after 1 July 2007 and has been convicted of a serious criminal offence in Australia or overseas, committed before the person became an Australian citizen, and sentenced to death or imprisonment for life or for a period of not less than 12 months. This provision does not apply if deprivation would render the person stateless; or

Migration-related fraud

The person applied for Australian citizenship on or after 10 April 1997 and has been convicted of an offence in connection with the person’s entry into Australia or the grant to the person of a visa or permission to enter Australia.

In each case, the Minister must be satisfied that it would be contrary to the public interest for that person to continue to be an Australian citizen.

Mr. Peter Slipper
Federal Member for Fisher

Maroochydore Office:

Location:  The Dolphin Centre
118 Aerodrome Road
Maroochydore BC Qld 4558

Peter.Slipper.MP@aph.gov.au
Phone  07 5443 3555.
Fax: (07) 5443 7270.

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