Australian parliamentary citizenship crisis

I am curious what readers think is a possible way forward – and what they think will actually happen.
The resignation of Benelong MP John Alexander wipes out the slender majority enjoyed by the Turnbull Govt. So how Turnbull will navigate the last two sitting weeks of 2017 without losing a key vote has been made a bigger problem. It is interesting that it took a freelance lawyer to precipitate this crisis by pointing out obvious facts to the then Senator Ludlum. What were our top legal minds doing all these years? Closing a blind eye to the effect of Sect 44 of the Constitution?
I doubt there is any chance of a referendum passing to amend Sect 44. I note too that when it was written Canada and New Zealand were all part of the British Empire and were not thought of as foreigners – Sect 44 should have been amended decades ago.
I note too the Coalition Govt elected Sep 2013 was always a lame duck in that they could never get Liberal legislation through the Senate. They only ever passed legislation compliant with Labor/Greens/liberals.
When Turnbull just scraped back in July 2016 with a minute majority in the lower house the lame duck became lame in both legs. Now here we are and nobody will want a Christmas election.

14 thoughts on “Australian parliamentary citizenship crisis”

  1. Peter Dutton is preparing to take over the big chair and I expect Tony as Treasurer.

    No coup, Turnbull should return to the commercial world where he feels more comfortable.

    The timing is not clear, it depends on the numbers men convincing the PM that he lacks the support of the Party. Then he’ll jump.

  2. Letter in The Australian 11/11/2017.
    The Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs in its 1981 report on constitutional qualifications of MPs concluded in relation to section 44:
    “It is obscure in meaning, unduly harsh or manifestly inappropriate today, and that most of the disqualifying conditions should be deleted, reformulated, or replaced by ordinary legislation.”
    The report addressed the matter of being the citizen of another country. It said:
    “A large number of Australian citizens have dual citizenship and can do little or nothing to alter that status and that some countries do not recognise renunciation while other impose conditions difficult or impossible to fulfil.”
    If the government of the time had acted on this, we would not be in the situation we find ourselves.
    Tiit Tonuri, Cowra, NSW.

  3. We, nobody in fact, can trust politicians and wanna-be politicians to police themselves. They know they cannot be trusted, of course, and continue to show us their middle finger, secure in the knowledge that ordinary citizenry can do nothing at all about it.

    As a result, S44 will continue to be surreptitiously breached ad infinitum. The only brake possible will be back-room party apparatchicks feverishly checking up on their opponents and then selectively leaking to the MSM. In other words, no real difference, just additional trench warfare.

    The AEC is able to, and should, back check each electoral nomination, each nominated candidature, but without bolstering legislation to protect it, will not. So, not check, but checkmate.

    Shorten is running on hypocritical empty (so ?), as is Waffle, hoping to slam dunk before Xmas with “no confidence” using his ineligible S44 Lower House numbers. Likely, we will be forced to vote again shortly with Parliament prorogued … but this will not resolve the S44 situation. A possible referendum to cut through this Gordian Knot will be corrupted with our adversary system being completely incapable of defining an agreed objective question.

    No trust, no honest referendum question, a Parliament with legislation constantly at risk of successful High Court destruction on grounds of ineligible MP’s. What could possibly go wrong ?

  4. Warwick, no referendum is required to eliminate dual citizenship. The USA does not allow that. Parliament can pass the legislation. It also can pass a regulation that requires an affidavit from anyone applying for an Australian passport or renewing an Australian passport to swear (or affirm) that they renounce all other citizenships which they maybe entitled to by descent or other means. If someone makes a false statement in an affidavit they are committing a criminal offense (same as perjury) and can be jailed.
    Simply they should not be able to get an Australian passport if they are a citizen of another country nor should they be allowed to become an Australian through naturalization. Already anyone born in Australia when their parents where not citizens have have to apply to become a citizen if they are eligible through residence, good character etc. An application should be rejected if they want to retain citizenship of another country.
    It would be quickly discovered if person elected to any parliament in Australia can not obtain an Australian

  5. The mud has stuck to the fan now.

    Kenneally will win Bennelong – she’s an airhead but such a media tart – and this will bring Waffle down before Xmas.

    Note that the ALP has still not fronted their S44 credentials up and will not publicly before the No Confidence vote, is my view.

  6. Yes ianl8888 – although in Dec 2009 Keneally was assisted by Obeid and Tripodi to garner the numbers for her appointment as Premier. And despite her rapid re-appointment of Macdonald to the Ministry – it will be a hard ask to get traction for those issues during this by-election campaign. During 2010 the facts of the corruptly issued coal EL’s had not broken public.
    We must remember too it is likely KK sees herself as a future PM.
    When time allows I will post some pages re KK scanned from “He Who Must Be Obeid”.
    The extent of Obeid’s deeds spanning two decades are probably too gross for most voters to grasp.

  7. I thought both t Outlooks were mild (milder than many have been) for Dec-Jan-Feb but not a squ cm of Oz is forecast to be cooler than av. Hobart seems to take the cake for heat.

  8. Hey, I now see the BoM is discussing accuracy: www.bom.gov.au/climate/ahead/verif/

    They look good they way they do it. 60 or 65 per cent accuracy gets light or dark green, when all they are doing is projecting whether or not the average will be exceeded. With rainfall it should be a doddle to beat 50 per cent given the initial El Nino state etc.

    With temperature they also look not too bad. But of course there is at least one big catch. They are predicting deviations from the 1961-90 mean, which according to them is almost a degree below current temperatures. So all they have to do is predict warmer than normal all the time and they can get to 60 per cent accuracy no worries. The fact that they usually get no higher suggests that if they had to predict whether temperatures would or would not exceed the real mean (1 degree higher) their score would be no better than 50%, i.e. the same reliability as throwing dice.

  9. On further investigation, I see that I am wrong: the outlook forecasts are made against 1981-2010 medians: www.bom.gov.au/climate/ahead/about/index.shtml#tabs=Medians.

    So, better than 1961-90. But then why do they still display average temperatures based on 1961-90, as here: www.bom.gov.au/jsp/ncc/climate_averages/temperature/index.jsp ?

    Also, the point remains, only a little weaker, that it’s easy for the Bureau to get more than 50% accuracy by just forecasting the whole continent always warmer than the 1981-2010 median. From the graph here www.bom.gov.au/climate/change/#tabs=Tracker&tracker=timeseries&tQ=graph%3Dtmax%26area%3Daus%26season%3D0112%26ave_yr%3D0 recent temperatures have averaged around 0.4 degrees higher than the 1981-2010 median and have only fallen below it twice in the last 15 years.

    What would be a real test of acccuracy would be for the BoM to drop its opaque system of percentage chances of exceeding the median, and instead forecast the actual temperature departure, e.g. three degrees above median, or two degrees below, or whatever. Then we could get a clear idea afterwards of whether these outlooks have any real value. Evidence on this site over many years strongly suggests they don’t.

  10. @wazz

    > ” … Keneally was assisted by Obeid and Tripodi to garner the numbers for her appointment as Premier”

    Maybe wrong, but as I saw it then, Obeid supported Kenneally because of his intense dislike of Frank Sartor (the other contender), not because he saw Keneally as worthy. Obeid preferred policy airheads as in his view they were easier to manipulate.

  11. Eight pages from the start of Chapter 19 of He who must be Obeid.
    There is a synoptic timeline of critical dates here. The corrupt coal EL’s were mostly actioned in the second half 2008. Near bottom of page 272 Labor historian Rodney Cavalier reports on a meeting of number counters in Obeids office where Keneally was present and it seems obvious this convinced her to run.
    Pages 270-271 – pages 272-273 – pages 274-275.

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