ADI Director, Professor Fethi Mansouri, has urged the government to look for alternatives to stripping dual nationals linked to terrorism of their Australian citizenship.
The Director of Deakin University’s Alfred Deakin Institute of Citizenship and Globalisation and one of Australia’s leading experts on citizenship and migration, Professor Fethi Mansouri, has urged the government to look for alternatives to stripping dual nationals linked to terrorism of their Australian citizenship.
His call follows the decision by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security to recommend the Government pass changes to the Australian Citizenship Amendment (Allegiance to Australia) Bill 2015 and also allow the law to be applied retrospectively to people who have been sentenced to more than 10 years in jail for terrorism-related offences.
“It is at the most challenging of times that our commitment to democratic principles are most tested and when our commitments to them must become most important”, he said.
“Weakening the inclusiveness of our citizenship laws and practices can weaken Australian values.”
“The right to belong is just that, a right, not a privilege that can be taken away by a ministerial decision, citizenship is a constitutional right that is as irrevocable as any other basic human right.”
In a submission earlier this year to the National Consultation on Citizenship, Professor Mansouri said the best way to safeguard Australians from potential acts of violent extremism was by ensuring citizenship laws advanced the social inclusion of all Australians, strengthen core Australian values and increase our standing as a good international citizen.
“From South Africa’s treatment of anti-apartheid activists to France’s draconian laws forbidding Islamic religious symbols in public and the British treatment of Irish republican suspects in the 1970s, there is undeniable comparable empirical evidence that harsh measures do not often solve problems,” he said.
“Our strength and resilience as a nation will only be furthered if our commitment to the rule of law goes hand-in-hand with our commitment to freedom of religion, expression, assembly and association.”
“These are the cornerstones of civil liberty and should never be jeopardised; even as we fight and resist the scourge that is international terrorism and violent extremism.”
Professor Mansouri said by revoking citizenship Australia shifts the burden to another, and perhaps less able, community to deal with.
“Australia should take responsibility for its citizens and lead by example as an upholder of international citizenship,” he said.
“Failure to do so risks weakening Australia’s international standing, thus undermining our ability to collaborate with other states on global issues, including terrorism, people-smuggling, drug-trafficking and foreign fighting.”
Contact: Sandra Kingston
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