Amend Section 44 of the Australian Constitution for dual citizenship in Federal Parliament

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The last few months have displayed an uprecedented and rather undignified chapter in Australian history when Members of Federal Parliament were compelled to resign due to an apparently ambiguous and obsolete section of the Constitution that could open up multiple interpretations and be made subject of political games.

As a dual citizen in a multicultural society who would not exclude future aspirations for a political career, this petitioner is most likely not alone in seeking an amendment to the relevant section that stipulates an exclusion of eligibility for Federal Parliament candidacy in case of multiple citizenship. 

Strangely enough, this rule does not apply on either state or local government level, even though decisions made on these levels could also carry implications for these levels of governance (such as conflict of interest). The above section has no equivalent in other federal parliaments of the English-speaking world, such as the USA, Canada, Great Britain or New Zealand.

Furthermore, it is interesting to observe that even a past Prime Minister of Australia, Sir Robert Menzies claimed to be “British to the bootheels” - while the current Australian Head of State - with all due respect to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (and her representative, His Excellency the Governor-General of Australia) - is not an Australian citizen at all...

A much anticipated legislation of the above could ensure the operation of Federal legislation without any further impediment of this nature that could jeopardise the safe operation of the Federal Government and the Federal Parliament of Australia.

Therefore, the writer of these lines seeks to have Section 44 amended to allow dual (or multiple - Parliament to decide how many nationalities one candidate could hold) citizens to take office as a Member of Federal Parliament - on condition that they:

- dutifully declare this before their official nomination;  

- faithfully declare any conflicts of interest that may arise at voting in certain matters of state, be it political or commercial, whether in times of peace or in war and dutifully withdraw in case of conflict that may be present thereof.

The two major parties have recently made a pact towards a solution but will it suffice? Would you still support the original Section 44 to be left as it is - or join this petition to see it amended for a long-anticipated reasonable solution?

The writer of these lines respectfully asks members of the Australian public to endorse this petition.

Thankfully and with best regards,

Greg Hartay-Szabo

 



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