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Dual Citizenship – enter a sinister edge

By John Hargreaves - 20 November 2017 16
multiple passports

Are we underestimating how the citizenship issue can affect national security?

Is anyone as sick of this sad and sorry saga as I am? It just seems to go on and on. Where is the end of it?

First, we get a bunch of senators and one MP suspected of not being eligible to be in federal parliament at all, two get off and five sent packing (now six with Jacquie Lambie the latest casualty). You’d think that was enough to signal to any sane person that maybe, just maybe there was a problem.

We saw Katy Gallagher check her stuff out and get advice that she was not Ecuadorian (although there are not too many blondes in Ecuador) and the issue of her dad being a pom. Katy saw the hordes on the hill and acted to make sure that she had done due diligence as best she could before the 2016 election.

But what does Senator Parry do? He checks it with a mate and stays mum until the High Court does the caber tossing. Whoops. But maybe not – maybe not just a human error, maybe not just a dumb thing. Maybe he thought it would go under the radar cos no-one was doing the checking.

There are another three pollies in the crosshairs.

Meanwhile, the PM and Bill Shorten argue the toss about how to protect their own arses. Not exactly covering themselves in glory eh?

But let’s go back a bit. Why did the founding fathers (and founding mothers may have taken a different view, especially John Christian Watson’s and King O’Malley’s mums) put this provision into the Constitution?

It was about not allowing allegiance to a foreign power. A bit odd at the time methinks cos the Brits were the major power in this region anyway and no-one saw the decline of the British Empire in the late 1800s. But this provision was a bit of insurance in case any upstart immigrant would deign to feel that they could sit in the Oz Parliament and make laws for the good of the country. Not of British stock, not in the game!

But here’s the rub. Around the times the French and the Russians were prowling around and frightening the horses with their ships, the colonies had their own armies  ­– and I think even one had a navy of sorts ­– but no real defence cohesion. So, the Constitution conferred responsibility for defence on the new polity.

Now, many RiotACTers are/were public servants. Many are/were Commonwealth public servants. To get a job in the then-CPS when I joined (1968), you had to swear allegiance to the Queen and her successors and you had to have a security check. I was asked what my parents’ jobs were, where they were born and a few other bits I just can’t remember (blaming my old mate Al Zeheimer).

When people join the APS these days, I’m not sure what happens but I do know that if you want a job in the Parliament through the Department of Parliamentary Services, say to work in the support areas of parliament like the Library, committee offices, personnel etc, you have to have a security check.

But did you know that if you are a pollie or a staff member of a pollie, no such requirement exists? So these pollies, despite having only Oz citizenship, could conceivably owe allegiance to a foreign power and you would never know. The same goes for their staff members and there are heaps of them in the hallowed halls.

I know this because neither I nor my staff was security checked when I was elected to the Legislative Assembly and the same didn’t happen when a couple of friends of mine were elected to the House of Reps and Senate. Personal knowledge is a great thing at times.

A check of British Parliamentary history will reveal many members of the Houses of Parliament as being moles or spies for the commies during the Cold War. The papers were full of such revelations in the 1960s. It wouldn’t surprise me to find more if a surface was scratched; that is if there are any left after the sexual harassment issues haven’t entirely decimated the ranks.

But what is to stop this happening here?  Nothing I can see.

But is it possible that security checks are done by ASIO behind their backs? Nah! Not in this country of the free! Where our personal liberties are never threatened!

Well, I reckon that all nominating candidates should go through the same security vetting that prospective employees of the Commonwealth have to go through. And the same for prospective staff members of MPs.

Imagine this: a Defence minister or Justice minister being briefed on sensitive material vital to Oz’s external or internal security, when no-one knows with absolute surety that the information imparted will be confidential. Imagine a staff member sitting in on a briefing on sensitive material, we have no guarantee that this stuff will be used appropriately.

But there is the principle of the separation of powers. The Parliament, the Executive, and the Judiciary are independent of each other. So what, I say!

The spooks should do a check on everyone who has access to sensitive material and report the findings to an appropriate officer in Parliament House. This could be the Speaker/President, the Secretary of the Department of Parliamentary Services, an Integrity Commissioner; I don’t have a preference but where there are doubts about the allegiance, it should be dealt with. And it isn’t at the moment.

Food for thought eh?

Do you think all potential government staff should undergo security checks? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below.

What’s Your opinion?


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16 Responses to
Dual Citizenship – enter a sinister edge
John Hargreaves 8:49 pm 01 Dec 17

Lucy Baker said :

You didn’t need a security clearance as an MLA, John. And without one, in any case, you wouldn’t have had access to material that required one. Not sure what you’re getting at!

You’re right. I had a “confidential” security classification form my Army days but I didn’t get checked when I was a Police Minister and briefed on counter terrorism issues, or as Emergency Services Minister when briefed on disaster response. You help my case.

John Hargreaves 8:47 pm 01 Dec 17

MERC600 said :

Jon In one of your replies you write “” I don’t get the point. To quote Malcolm T. “there is no-one more Australian than Barnaby Joyce.” – Pat Dobson and Linda Burney may have an issue with that one.””

The quote “”Pat Dobson and Linda Burney may have an issue with that one.”” .. Are you able to expand on this please.

Pat and L
inda are indigenous and their people were here a lot earlier than the with guys

Crazed_Loner 11:30 pm 23 Nov 17

I think one of the issues might be that (to my bush lawyer understanding), although the Constitution has stayed the same, what it means to be a foreign national might have changed around it. At the time of Federation, all Australians were British subjects. Politicians with British parents wouldn’t have been affected as they are now. This later changed when the concept of Australian citizenship was legislated in 1949, so people who would not have once been excluded were now so affected although this hasn’t been generally enforced down the years.
It would be interesting to go back through previous Parliaments to see who could/should have been excluded under the application of Section 44 as it is now understood, particularly in the 50s and 60s. I suppose it seemed reasonable to frame it that way leading up to Federation but those framers of S44 of the Constitution couldn’t conceive of the way the world (and Australia) would change in the future. Unintended consequences, and all that…

MERC600 12:44 pm 21 Nov 17

Jon In one of your replies you write “” I don’t get the point. To quote Malcolm T. “there is no-one more Australian than Barnaby Joyce.” – Pat Dobson and Linda Burney may have an issue with that one.””

The quote “”Pat Dobson and Linda Burney may have an issue with that one.”” .. Are you able to expand on this please.

Lucy Baker 10:26 pm 20 Nov 17

You didn’t need a security clearance as an MLA, John. And without one, in any case, you wouldn’t have had access to material that required one. Not sure what you’re getting at!

Lucy Baker 10:22 pm 20 Nov 17

1. Katie’s colouring could have come from the Anglo side of her family.
2. She isn’t blonde in any case. Dark roots- not that it matters.

chewy14 8:54 pm 20 Nov 17

John Hargreaves said :

chewy14 said :

Blen_Carmichael said :

“We saw Katy Gallagher check her stuff out and get advice that she was not Ecuadorian (although there are not too many blondes in Ecuador) and the issue of her dad being a pom. Katy saw the hordes on the hill and acted to make sure that she had done due diligence as best she could before the 2016 election.”

Katy has done no such thing. She conceded she did not get legal advice as to whether she was an Ecuadorian citizen prior to her appointment: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/immigration/labor-senator-katy-gallagher-a-possible-ecuadorean-citizen/news-story/dece7070ac0b86a4ff8da721b6ceaca1

This aspect could be resolved by her asking the Ecuadorian authorities to confirm her status. To date, Gallagher has not produced correspondence to this effect. Why would that be, John?

Leaving aside that aspect, it also appears Gallagher sat unlawfully in the Senate in 2015 due to her holding British citizenship. She has refused to confirm the date her renunciation officially took effect, which casts doubts on her current eligibility. http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/labor-senator-automatically-a-british-citizen-former-uk-home-office-lawyer-says-20171103-gze40i.html

That’s what you call due diligence is it John?

Being a member of the ALP is all the allegiance John needs to declare them 100% Dinky Di, nothing to see here.

I don’t get the point. To quote Malcolm T. “there is no-one more Australian than Barnaby Joyce.” – Pat Dobson and Linda Burney may have an issue with that one.

The point I was making was that just declaring that one is a faithful citizen of the country does not mean it is so. It needs checking and I don’t excuse anyone from this.

Also, slagging off at me doesn’t make the disquiet go away. If you disagree with me then say so and show why.

The point is that you used Senator Gallagher as an example of completing due diligence and proper checking when it’s clear she also sat as a dual citizen previously and most definitely did not complete due diligence to any reasonable standard.
It’s pure luck rather than good management that a number of other politicians are not equally caught up in this mess.

MERC600 5:55 pm 20 Nov 17

John Hargreaves said :

chewy14 said :

Blen_Carmichael said :

“We saw Katy Gallagher check her stuff out and get advice that she was not Ecuadorian (although there are not too many blondes in Ecuador) and the issue of her dad being a pom. Katy saw the hordes on the hill and acted to make sure that she had done due diligence as best she could before the 2016 election.”

Katy has done no such thing. She conceded she did not get legal advice as to whether she was an Ecuadorian citizen prior to her appointment: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/immigration/labor-senator-katy-gallagher-a-possible-ecuadorean-citizen/news-story/dece7070ac0b86a4ff8da721b6ceaca1

This aspect could be resolved by her asking the Ecuadorian authorities to confirm her status. To date, Gallagher has not produced correspondence to this effect. Why would that be, John?

Leaving aside that aspect, it also appears Gallagher sat unlawfully in the Senate in 2015 due to her holding British citizenship. She has refused to confirm the date her renunciation officially took effect, which casts doubts on her current eligibility. http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/labor-senator-automatically-a-british-citizen-former-uk-home-office-lawyer-says-20171103-gze40i.html

That’s what you call due diligence is it John?

Being a member of the ALP is all the allegiance John needs to declare them 100% Dinky Di, nothing to see here.

I don’t get the point. To quote Malcolm T. “there is no-one more Australian than Barnaby Joyce.” – Pat Dobson and Linda Burney may have an issue with that one.

The point I was making was that just declaring that one is a faithful citizen of the country does not mean it is so. It needs checking and I don’t excuse anyone from this.

Also, slagging off at me doesn’t make the disquiet go away. If you disagree with me then say so and show why.

John Hargreaves said :

chewy14 said :

Blen_Carmichael said :

“We saw Katy Gallagher check her stuff out and get advice that she was not Ecuadorian (although there are not too many blondes in Ecuador) and the issue of her dad being a pom. Katy saw the hordes on the hill and acted to make sure that she had done due diligence as best she could before the 2016 election.”

Katy has done no such thing. She conceded she did not get legal advice as to whether she was an Ecuadorian citizen prior to her appointment: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/immigration/labor-senator-katy-gallagher-a-possible-ecuadorean-citizen/news-story/dece7070ac0b86a4ff8da721b6ceaca1

This aspect could be resolved by her asking the Ecuadorian authorities to confirm her status. To date, Gallagher has not produced correspondence to this effect. Why would that be, John?

Leaving aside that aspect, it also appears Gallagher sat unlawfully in the Senate in 2015 due to her holding British citizenship. She has refused to confirm the date her renunciation officially took effect, which casts doubts on her current eligibility. http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/labor-senator-automatically-a-british-citizen-former-uk-home-office-lawyer-says-20171103-gze40i.html

That’s what you call due diligence is it John?

Being a member of the ALP is all the allegiance John needs to declare them 100% Dinky Di, nothing to see here.

I don’t get the point. To quote Malcolm T. “there is no-one more Australian than Barnaby Joyce.” – Pat Dobson and Linda Burney may have an issue with that one.

The point I was making was that just declaring that one is a faithful citizen of the country does not mean it is so. It needs checking and I don’t excuse anyone from this.

Also, slagging off at me doesn’t make the disquiet go away. If you disagree with me then say so and show why.

“”Pat Dobson and Linda Burney may have an issue with that one.””
What are you inferring here? Senator Dobson has a interesting background as per this ABC article .
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-10/even-patrick-dodson-is-answering-citizenship-questions/9140026

John Hargreaves 2:20 pm 20 Nov 17

chewy14 said :

Blen_Carmichael said :

“We saw Katy Gallagher check her stuff out and get advice that she was not Ecuadorian (although there are not too many blondes in Ecuador) and the issue of her dad being a pom. Katy saw the hordes on the hill and acted to make sure that she had done due diligence as best she could before the 2016 election.”

Katy has done no such thing. She conceded she did not get legal advice as to whether she was an Ecuadorian citizen prior to her appointment: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/immigration/labor-senator-katy-gallagher-a-possible-ecuadorean-citizen/news-story/dece7070ac0b86a4ff8da721b6ceaca1

This aspect could be resolved by her asking the Ecuadorian authorities to confirm her status. To date, Gallagher has not produced correspondence to this effect. Why would that be, John?

Leaving aside that aspect, it also appears Gallagher sat unlawfully in the Senate in 2015 due to her holding British citizenship. She has refused to confirm the date her renunciation officially took effect, which casts doubts on her current eligibility. http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/labor-senator-automatically-a-british-citizen-former-uk-home-office-lawyer-says-20171103-gze40i.html

That’s what you call due diligence is it John?

Being a member of the ALP is all the allegiance John needs to declare them 100% Dinky Di, nothing to see here.

I don’t get the point. To quote Malcolm T. “there is no-one more Australian than Barnaby Joyce.” – Pat Dobson and Linda Burney may have an issue with that one.

The point I was making was that just declaring that one is a faithful citizen of the country does not mean it is so. It needs checking and I don’t excuse anyone from this.

Also, slagging off at me doesn’t make the disquiet go away. If you disagree with me then say so and show why.

John Hargreaves 2:13 pm 20 Nov 17

Blen_Carmichael said :

John Hargreaves said :

Whilst I acknowledge that the revelation of more pollies suspect according to S.44 is fascinating, the sinister issue really is the lack of security checking. Just being a dinky dye Aussie, doesn’t necessarily cut it for me. I wonder when I see the sycophantic kowtowing to the US and its resultant forelock tugging to the CIA in the interests of information sharing (read sovereignty of Pine Gap), and I think: can I be sure that we don’t have pollies and their staff sharing stuff they shouldn’t. I just can’t be sure cos there is no vetting at all anyway.

The lax vetting goes back a long way. It reminds me of a certain statue in the ACT Legislative Assembly of a late ALP figure with some very dubious connections – who was it that commissioned it?

T’was I who commissioned it to commemorate Al Grassby’s work for a multicultural Australia. Some who opposed it quoted “dubious connections” without any proof whatsoever. Indeed a court found Al not guilty of such nonsense. Mud slinging with no proof does no-one any credit.

Blen_Carmichael 1:37 pm 20 Nov 17

John Hargreaves said :

Whilst I acknowledge that the revelation of more pollies suspect according to S.44 is fascinating, the sinister issue really is the lack of security checking. Just being a dinky dye Aussie, doesn’t necessarily cut it for me. I wonder when I see the sycophantic kowtowing to the US and its resultant forelock tugging to the CIA in the interests of information sharing (read sovereignty of Pine Gap), and I think: can I be sure that we don’t have pollies and their staff sharing stuff they shouldn’t. I just can’t be sure cos there is no vetting at all anyway.

The lax vetting goes back a long way. It reminds me of a certain statue in the ACT Legislative Assembly of a late ALP figure with some very dubious connections – who was it that commissioned it?

chewy14 12:00 pm 20 Nov 17

Blen_Carmichael said :

“We saw Katy Gallagher check her stuff out and get advice that she was not Ecuadorian (although there are not too many blondes in Ecuador) and the issue of her dad being a pom. Katy saw the hordes on the hill and acted to make sure that she had done due diligence as best she could before the 2016 election.”

Katy has done no such thing. She conceded she did not get legal advice as to whether she was an Ecuadorian citizen prior to her appointment: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/immigration/labor-senator-katy-gallagher-a-possible-ecuadorean-citizen/news-story/dece7070ac0b86a4ff8da721b6ceaca1

This aspect could be resolved by her asking the Ecuadorian authorities to confirm her status. To date, Gallagher has not produced correspondence to this effect. Why would that be, John?

Leaving aside that aspect, it also appears Gallagher sat unlawfully in the Senate in 2015 due to her holding British citizenship. She has refused to confirm the date her renunciation officially took effect, which casts doubts on her current eligibility. http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/labor-senator-automatically-a-british-citizen-former-uk-home-office-lawyer-says-20171103-gze40i.html

That’s what you call due diligence is it John?

Being a member of the ALP is all the allegiance John needs to declare them 100% Dinky Di, nothing to see here.

John Hargreaves 11:50 am 20 Nov 17

Whilst I acknowledge that the revelation of more pollies suspect according to S.44 is fascinating, the sinister issue really is the lack of security checking. Just being a dinky dye Aussie, doesn’t necessarily cut it for me. I wonder when I see the sycophantic kowtowing to the US and its resultant forelock tugging to the CIA in the interests of information sharing (read sovereignty of Pine Gap), and I think: can I be sure that we don’t have pollies and their staff sharing stuff they shouldn’t. I just can’t be sure cos there is no vetting at all anyway.

John Hargreaves 11:45 am 20 Nov 17

Blen_Carmichael said :

“We saw Katy Gallagher check her stuff out and get advice that she was not Ecuadorian (although there are not too many blondes in Ecuador) and the issue of her dad being a pom. Katy saw the hordes on the hill and acted to make sure that she had done due diligence as best she could before the 2016 election.”

Katy has done no such thing. She conceded she did not get legal advice as to whether she was an Ecuadorian citizen prior to her appointment: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/immigration/labor-senator-katy-gallagher-a-possible-ecuadorean-citizen/news-story/dece7070ac0b86a4ff8da721b6ceaca1

This aspect could be resolved by her asking the Ecuadorian authorities to confirm her status. To date, Gallagher has not produced correspondence to this effect. Why would that be, John?

Leaving aside that aspect, it also appears Gallagher sat unlawfully in the Senate in 2015 due to her holding British citizenship. She has refused to confirm the date her renunciation officially took effect, which casts doubts on her current eligibility. http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/labor-senator-automatically-a-british-citizen-former-uk-home-office-lawyer-says-20171103-gze40i.html

That’s what you call due diligence is it John?

I might remind readers that whether we agree with it or not, the High Court only ruled on election to the Senate and H of R from 2016. Interestingly, Katy has to contest the senate election every three years. and so her citizenship at the 2016 election was as a sole citizen. The pollies outed by the High Court were also elected in 2016, some senators had been elected for six years.

But what about those senators who were elected in 2013? They sit in the senate and everyone is oblivious of their status. The High Court didn’t have a referral to consider for this group but I would bet there is at least one of the half senate whose seat is precarious.

Blen_Carmichael 7:36 am 20 Nov 17

“We saw Katy Gallagher check her stuff out and get advice that she was not Ecuadorian (although there are not too many blondes in Ecuador) and the issue of her dad being a pom. Katy saw the hordes on the hill and acted to make sure that she had done due diligence as best she could before the 2016 election.”

Katy has done no such thing. She conceded she did not get legal advice as to whether she was an Ecuadorian citizen prior to her appointment: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/immigration/labor-senator-katy-gallagher-a-possible-ecuadorean-citizen/news-story/dece7070ac0b86a4ff8da721b6ceaca1

This aspect could be resolved by her asking the Ecuadorian authorities to confirm her status. To date, Gallagher has not produced correspondence to this effect. Why would that be, John?

Leaving aside that aspect, it also appears Gallagher sat unlawfully in the Senate in 2015 due to her holding British citizenship. She has refused to confirm the date her renunciation officially took effect, which casts doubts on her current eligibility. http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/labor-senator-automatically-a-british-citizen-former-uk-home-office-lawyer-says-20171103-gze40i.html

That’s what you call due diligence is it John?

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