Fix The Australian Constitution - Section 44.1

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Section 44.1 of the Constitution reads:

Any person who:

  1. is under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or a citizen of a foreign power; or

shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.

This has caused some difficulty in the current parliament and the current rulings by the High Court appear to be a hard line on the subject.

At the time the Australian Constitution came into being there was no such thing as an Australian Citizen and the words sought to exclude those who had no allegiance to the crown, those who were not British Subjects.

Three things have led to the change in circumstances

  • 1949 Australian Citizenship came into being.
  • 1984 Australian Citizens were no longer British Subjects
  • Increased use of dual citizenship to facilitate easy travel

Effectively the High Court ruling has changed the meaning of the Constitution without changing the words of the Constitution, which they have the power to do.

We believe Section 44.1 should read:

Any person who:

  1. is not an Australian Citizen; or

shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.

The matter of dual citizenship would then be governed by Australian Citizenship, on a one rule for all basis. Then the debate would move to how we feel about dual allegiance for all Australians equitably, not expecting politicians to somehow be more Australian than the rest of us. One rule for all being the guiding principle. It would also mean that eligibility to serve is not determined by how other countries interpret their laws.



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