Skip to content Skip to main navigation

Opinion

Expert strata, facilities & building management services

Australian by choice not birth

By John Hargreaves - 16 November 2015 20

iStock_000057950416_Small

I came into this world at a really young age.  It was in a hospital in Birmingham in England.  When I was three years old, I was kidnapped by my parents and taken from the Isle of my birth and transported by boat to a foreign land called Oz.

My parents, coming here in their early 20s, didn’t really leave England behind forever, but embraced Oz as their home and mostly gave it their allegiance, except in the cricket. So you could say that you could take the man out of England but you couldn’t take England out of the man.

My folks always had a soft spot for the monarchy and embraced the Menzian approach.  “I did but see her passing by, yet I love her till I die.” (Please forgive me if my quote isn’t word perfect.) For them, they did not take out Oz citizenship until the mid- to late 1970s, having lived here for about 22 years, then going back to the “Old Dart”, not liking it much there and coming back, taking up citizenship on the second round.

They did not see the need for independence from the monarchy as important, let alone necessary.  They saw Oz as a satellite of England and often said that if it was good enough for Canada and New Zealand to retain the monarchy of Britain, it was good enough for us.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

They didn’t see what was wrong with having a Head of State who lived permanently in the country which had colonised Oz.  They didn’t see a problem with that Head of State being a hereditary process.  They didn’t see an issue with the Act of Succession (UK) being implicit that Catholics cannot ascend to the throne of Britain.  (If, God forbid, an heir to the Crown converted to Catholicism, he or she would need to renounce a claim to the throne). They also said, erroneously, that the Governor-General (GG) was in fact our Head of State.

They didn’t see the political tension in having a government in place at the pleasure of an overseas based head of state.  They saw the prerogative of the Vice Regal GG to sack a duly elected Prime Minister (and with him, the government of the day), applying authority given under the Constitution as a delegate of the crown, as fine.

They saw the position of the Queen of England as Queen of Australia as sufficient reason to pay homage to that sovereignty.

My conversations with my parents did not wash with them.

I put the point that as an independent nation, recognised by the UN, it was incumbent upon us to have our own Head of State. As I said earlier, they said that as the GGs were, from some time ago, Australian born, we do in fact have our own Head of State.  Wrong!

I tried to put the point that having a Head of State that had to be Anglican was discriminatory on the basis of religion.  As Catholics, I would have thought that this may have held some weight, but not so. They didn’t care.

I tried to put the point that having someone inherit a job, swanning around at public expense was odd.  What happened to getting a job on the merit principle? This didn’t wash either. They saw the monarchy as being well placed to override the decisions of an elected body, if it was the right thing to do!

I tried to put the point that the Act of Succession (as it was during our discussion) discriminating against females.  Fortunately for Britain, this has been changed but it did show a misogyny, which is in the Royals’ DNA.

I tried to say that my dream was to live in a country where my granddaughter could aspire to be the Head of State but now she can’t because she is Catholic, Australian born and not of the House of Windsor.

I was talking to a brick wall.

I tried to say that I became a citizen when I was in the National Service at age 21 because I wanted to be a citizen of Australia, I wanted to be a citizen of the armed forces of which I was a member and I wanted to embrace the most precious of gifts a country could bestow.

When talking to these old folks, the issue was clouded by those opposed to the argument of Australia becoming a republic, through arguments around the process of electing a President, talk of changing the flag (always an emotive question) and arguments around the difficulties in changing the Constitution.

We have never been asked these fundamental questions in a referendum.

Do Australians want to become a republic?

Does Australia want its own Head of State?

Should an Australian Head of State be an Australian citizen, renouncing all other citizenships if applicable?

Interestingly, one can’t be a member of the Australian Parliament if one holds dual citizenship, but one can be the Australian Head of State without being an Australian citizen.

I can’t fathom why people would deny Oz the right to be completely independent in every way. Being a constitutional monarchy subordinate to the Crown of another country is an anathema to me.

And as for this notion of QEII being the Queen of Australia, this is nonsense also.  History is littered with the kings of a conquering country having themselves declared king of the subordinated country to legitimise that invasion and incorporation. A glance at European history from 1200 to 1870 will reveal that this was commonplace.

I have been back to England a couple of times and have enjoyed the company of my cousins.  I have enjoyed the beauty of England.

But I have come home to Oz, to the land of my choice, to the country in which the aspirations of my kids and grandkids can be realised. I didn’t come back to the colonies.

The Queen is beloved by many here in Oz but her passing will signal the perfect time to cut the apron strings and fly the nest forever!

What’s Your opinion?


Post a comment
Please login to post your comments, or connect with
20 Responses to
Australian by choice not birth
John Hargreaves 10:16 am 20 Nov 15

dungfungus said :

JC said :

dungfungus said :

I find it strange how we gladly accept a female PM (Gillard) and a male PM (Abbott) from “England” but no one appears to accept a Governor General from the old country anymore.
There is no good reason I can see to change to a Republic now or anytime in the future.

Core reason is Gillard and Abbott are Australian citizens even if they came from foreign lands. Australians are like that, if someone comes here and takes up Australian citizenship then they are Australian.

Though was it ever resolved if Abbott renounced his UK citizenship? Because that is one thing our constitution doesn’t allow the PM to be “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”

Since when does someone have to renounce citizenship to another country before they can become an Australian citizen?
Isn’t the government clamping down on people with dual citizenship?
My father was English but I was born in Australia. Having an English father means I can get a British passport which is “a right and a privileged conveyed by a foreign power”.
Do I now have to say “I am ashamed to be an Australian”?
It’s hilarious how some people on this blog can’t leave Abbott alone yet the same people can’t pin anything on him. Go Tony!

Australia does not require the renunciation of other citizenship as a prerequisite to becoming an Australian citizen and has not done so for decades. I became an Aussie in 1972 and was not required to renounce UK citizenship at the time.

As far as I know, membership of parliaments is the only time where sole Australian citizenship is a requirement. It may also be an ASIO and ASIS requirement but I’m not sure.

John Hargreaves 10:13 am 20 Nov 15

JC said :

dungfungus said :

I find it strange how we gladly accept a female PM (Gillard) and a male PM (Abbott) from “England” but no one appears to accept a Governor General from the old country anymore.
There is no good reason I can see to change to a Republic now or anytime in the future.

Core reason is Gillard and Abbott are Australian citizens even if they came from foreign lands. Australians are like that, if someone comes here and takes up Australian citizenship then they are Australian.

Though was it ever resolved if Abbott renounced his UK citizenship? Because that is one thing our constitution doesn’t allow the PM to be “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”

This question has been asked many times but an answer has not been forthcoming. I wonder why no-one in the Opposition has asked it in QT. Interestingly, I thing the ACT is the only jurisdiction where this is not the case.

JC 8:08 pm 19 Nov 15

dungfungus said :

My father was English but I was born in Australia. Having an English father means I can get a British passport which is “a right and a privileged conveyed by a foreign power”.
Do I now have to say “I am ashamed to be an Australian”?
It’s hilarious how some people on this blog can’t leave Abbott alone yet the same people can’t pin anything on him. Go Tony!

PS re your situation, if you had taken up that UK passport and were going for federal Parliament then yes there would be an issue. Otherwise carry on as you please. Australia is (or was) a kind caring place where you could old two passports if you please, regardless of where you came from. (though some other countries won’t allow you to take up Australian citizenship without renouncing your other, Singapore and Malaysia for example)

I personally find it hilarious how the right, extreme right actually can still defend Abbott, even after being dumped by his own party within 2 years of taking office. I also find it hilarious that Abbott carried on and on and on and on and on about Labor doing that and had the same done to him. Priceless. And do note I’ve not made any comment on this boards negative or positive about Turnbull.

Dreadnaught1905 4:55 pm 19 Nov 15

dungfungus said :

There is no good reason I can see to change to a Republic now or anytime in the future.

Once again I find myself in the somewhat interesting position of agreeing with Dungers – I don’t think that Australia will move to a Republic within the short to medium term. Personally, I have mixed feelings about it; I like certain features of our current system and I like the idea of a truly independent system of government for Australia. However, I think that the status quo is likely to be maintained for the foreseeable future.

I think the biggest issue to the republican movement, as HenryBG pointed out above, is the split between the ‘models’ and the lack of agreement amongst republicans. Direct Election, “McGarvie Model” and bi-partisan appointment all have their strengths and weaknesses. The inherent flaws in the Constitutional Monarchy we have at present are well articulated by John in his article.

Debates on Flags and Heads of State are excellent discussion points, and are best enjoyed over a good bottle of Australian wine. Yes, the UK may be home to ‘our’ Queen, but we export over 250 Million Litres of Wine to the UK every year. I’m pretty sure that the vast bulk of that wine is destined for what our British consumers like to call ‘wine boxes’. Perhaps our winemakers are (quite rightly, in my opinion) saving the best wines for the domestic market? In that case, I think we’re getting the better end of the deal with the UK!

JC 4:08 pm 19 Nov 15

dungfungus said :

JC said :

dungfungus said :

I find it strange how we gladly accept a female PM (Gillard) and a male PM (Abbott) from “England” but no one appears to accept a Governor General from the old country anymore.
There is no good reason I can see to change to a Republic now or anytime in the future.

Core reason is Gillard and Abbott are Australian citizens even if they came from foreign lands. Australians are like that, if someone comes here and takes up Australian citizenship then they are Australian.

Though was it ever resolved if Abbott renounced his UK citizenship? Because that is one thing our constitution doesn’t allow the PM to be “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”

Since when does someone have to renounce citizenship to another country before they can become an Australian citizen?
Isn’t the government clamping down on people with dual citizenship?
My father was English but I was born in Australia. Having an English father means I can get a British passport which is “a right and a privileged conveyed by a foreign power”.
Do I now have to say “I am ashamed to be an Australian”?
It’s hilarious how some people on this blog can’t leave Abbott alone yet the same people can’t pin anything on him. Go Tony!

Again not reading the post but going on the attack.

There is no issue in this country being a dial citizen. My wife being one.

However I clearly talking about being the PM, though I got my letters around the wrong way it should be MP or Senator. Gillard despite being UK born did renounce her UK citizenship, but did Tony? If not he should never have been in parliament let along the PM.

dungfungus 2:50 pm 19 Nov 15

Maya123 said :

dungfungus said :

JC said :

dungfungus said :

I find it strange how we gladly accept a female PM (Gillard) and a male PM (Abbott) from “England” but no one appears to accept a Governor General from the old country anymore.
There is no good reason I can see to change to a Republic now or anytime in the future.

Core reason is Gillard and Abbott are Australian citizens even if they came from foreign lands. Australians are like that, if someone comes here and takes up Australian citizenship then they are Australian.

Though was it ever resolved if Abbott renounced his UK citizenship? Because that is one thing our constitution doesn’t allow the PM to be “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”

Since when does someone have to renounce citizenship to another country before they can become an Australian citizen?
Isn’t the government clamping down on people with dual citizenship?
My father was English but I was born in Australia. Having an English father means I can get a British passport which is “a right and a privileged conveyed by a foreign power”.
Do I now have to say “I am ashamed to be an Australian”?
It’s hilarious how some people on this blog can’t leave Abbott alone yet the same people can’t pin anything on him. Go Tony!

It seems that it was “Gillard and Abbott” mentioned together. So, as you only complain about Tony being mentioned, it’s okay if Gillard is mentioned? Your bias is showing.

Read it again – it was not me who started carping on about Abbott in isolation.
But since you mention Gillard, can you give me two examples of her being “misogynised” by Tony Abbott?

Ghettosmurf87 2:32 pm 19 Nov 15

dungfungus said :

JC said :

dungfungus said :

I find it strange how we gladly accept a female PM (Gillard) and a male PM (Abbott) from “England” but no one appears to accept a Governor General from the old country anymore.
There is no good reason I can see to change to a Republic now or anytime in the future.

Core reason is Gillard and Abbott are Australian citizens even if they came from foreign lands. Australians are like that, if someone comes here and takes up Australian citizenship then they are Australian.

Though was it ever resolved if Abbott renounced his UK citizenship? Because that is one thing our constitution doesn’t allow the PM to be “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”

Since when does someone have to renounce citizenship to another country before they can become an Australian citizen?
Isn’t the government clamping down on people with dual citizenship?
My father was English but I was born in Australia. Having an English father means I can get a British passport which is “a right and a privileged conveyed by a foreign power”.
Do I now have to say “I am ashamed to be an Australian”?
It’s hilarious how some people on this blog can’t leave Abbott alone yet the same people can’t pin anything on him. Go Tony!

There is no issue with dual citizenship, unless you wish to be a member of parliament. Section 44(i) of the Australian Constitution disqualifies:

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

from being a member of the federal parliament.

An Electoral Backgrounder regarding this can be found on the AEC website here: http://www.aec.gov.au/About_AEC/Publications/Backgrounders/constitutional-disqual-intending-candidates.htm

Maya123 1:03 pm 19 Nov 15

dungfungus said :

JC said :

dungfungus said :

I find it strange how we gladly accept a female PM (Gillard) and a male PM (Abbott) from “England” but no one appears to accept a Governor General from the old country anymore.
There is no good reason I can see to change to a Republic now or anytime in the future.

Core reason is Gillard and Abbott are Australian citizens even if they came from foreign lands. Australians are like that, if someone comes here and takes up Australian citizenship then they are Australian.

Though was it ever resolved if Abbott renounced his UK citizenship? Because that is one thing our constitution doesn’t allow the PM to be “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”

Since when does someone have to renounce citizenship to another country before they can become an Australian citizen?
Isn’t the government clamping down on people with dual citizenship?
My father was English but I was born in Australia. Having an English father means I can get a British passport which is “a right and a privileged conveyed by a foreign power”.
Do I now have to say “I am ashamed to be an Australian”?
It’s hilarious how some people on this blog can’t leave Abbott alone yet the same people can’t pin anything on him. Go Tony!

It seems that it was “Gillard and Abbott” mentioned together. So, as you only complain about Tony being mentioned, it’s okay if Gillard is mentioned? Your bias is showing.

dungfungus 12:27 pm 19 Nov 15

JC said :

dungfungus said :

I find it strange how we gladly accept a female PM (Gillard) and a male PM (Abbott) from “England” but no one appears to accept a Governor General from the old country anymore.
There is no good reason I can see to change to a Republic now or anytime in the future.

Core reason is Gillard and Abbott are Australian citizens even if they came from foreign lands. Australians are like that, if someone comes here and takes up Australian citizenship then they are Australian.

Though was it ever resolved if Abbott renounced his UK citizenship? Because that is one thing our constitution doesn’t allow the PM to be “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”

Since when does someone have to renounce citizenship to another country before they can become an Australian citizen?
Isn’t the government clamping down on people with dual citizenship?
My father was English but I was born in Australia. Having an English father means I can get a British passport which is “a right and a privileged conveyed by a foreign power”.
Do I now have to say “I am ashamed to be an Australian”?
It’s hilarious how some people on this blog can’t leave Abbott alone yet the same people can’t pin anything on him. Go Tony!

JC 9:59 am 19 Nov 15

dungfungus said :

I find it strange how we gladly accept a female PM (Gillard) and a male PM (Abbott) from “England” but no one appears to accept a Governor General from the old country anymore.
There is no good reason I can see to change to a Republic now or anytime in the future.

Core reason is Gillard and Abbott are Australian citizens even if they came from foreign lands. Australians are like that, if someone comes here and takes up Australian citizenship then they are Australian.

Though was it ever resolved if Abbott renounced his UK citizenship? Because that is one thing our constitution doesn’t allow the PM to be “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”

dungfungus 5:15 pm 18 Nov 15

HenryBG said :

A bunch of very good questions there.
The reason we were never asked a plain question on whether we wanted our own head of state was because they knew what the answer would be, so they didn’t ask it. Instead, John Howard and Malcolm Turnbull conspired to split the Republican vote by giving us a referendum question that would be opposed by as many Republicans as possible. I recall a very long hesitation before finally putting my tick in the box on that one, because the Republic on offer wasn’t a design that I agreed with.

Your English perspective should however be contrasted with the perspective of the great many Australians for whom the monarchy is a distant, alien imposition. For us, the monarchy is a symbol of a society we do not belong to, a society that engineered the genocide of the mid-1800’s in Ireland that reduced the population of that land by 50%, a genocide vastly greater and more cruel in extent than anything done to the Australian aborigenes and still remembered by the descendants of Australia’s largest ethnic minority who might not care so much about any member of their religious faith being excluded from the position of Australian head of state, but surely remember having to put up with – right up until the Whitlam era – the likes of David Jones accompanying their job ads with the note, “Catholics need not apply”.
Perhaps the one saving grace of the English monarchy is that a century ago it was taken over by a German family. The sight of the English kow-towing to a bunch of (increasingly nutty) Germans is some consolation to the rest of us, I suppose.

Mind you, if there’s one thing we might fear more than the homeopathy-friendly Charles “Windsor” aka von Saxe-Coburg on the throne, it’s what our appallingly talentless pool of politicians might replace him with.

I lived in a country town until my early 20’s. The town was clearly divided (Catholics -v- Protestants). I got a job with a company controlled by Catholics because I had the same Irish surname as a well-known Catholic priest.
When my uncle (let’s say his name was Jones) returned from the Great War (you know, the one in Europe),he kept lining up for day work on a railway line west of Sydney but the man doing the hiring was Catholic and he wouldn’t give him a job.
Someone wised him up so the next morning when his place in queue reached the hiring man and he was asked his surname he replied “O’Jones”. He was hired from there on.
So, this has been part of the fabric of the Australian way of life for a long time and I believe this sort of discrimination doesn’t happen anymore. It was a two way street.
There was a great little humour book written about this by Louise Zaetta called “For God’s Sake” (I think).
I find it strange how we gladly accept a female PM (Gillard) and a male PM (Abbott) from “England” but no one appears to accept a Governor General from the old country anymore.
There is no good reason I can see to change to a Republic now or anytime in the future.

Southmouth 12:17 pm 18 Nov 15

HenryBG said :

A bunch of very good questions there.
The reason we were never asked a plain question on whether we wanted our own head of state was because they knew what the answer would be, so they didn’t ask it. Instead, John Howard and Malcolm Turnbull conspired to split the Republican vote by giving us a referendum question that would be opposed by as many Republicans as possible. I recall a very long hesitation before finally putting my tick in the box on that one, because the Republic on offer wasn’t a design that I agreed with.

Your English perspective should however be contrasted with the perspective of the great many Australians for whom the monarchy is a distant, alien imposition. For us, the monarchy is a symbol of a society we do not belong to, a society that engineered the genocide of the mid-1800’s in Ireland that reduced the population of that land by 50%, a genocide vastly greater and more cruel in extent than anything done to the Australian aborigenes and still remembered by the descendants of Australia’s largest ethnic minority who might not care so much about any member of their religious faith being excluded from the position of Australian head of state, but surely remember having to put up with – right up until the Whitlam era – the likes of David Jones accompanying their job ads with the note, “Catholics need not apply”.
Perhaps the one saving grace of the English monarchy is that a century ago it was taken over by a German family. The sight of the English kow-towing to a bunch of (increasingly nutty) Germans is some consolation to the rest of us, I suppose.

Mind you, if there’s one thing we might fear more than the homeopathy-friendly Charles “Windsor” aka von Saxe-Coburg on the throne, it’s what our appallingly talentless pool of politicians might replace him with.

David Jones was (not surprisingly) Welsh. Dislike of Catholics was not a sport limited to Anglicans.

HenryBG 4:38 pm 17 Nov 15

A bunch of very good questions there.
The reason we were never asked a plain question on whether we wanted our own head of state was because they knew what the answer would be, so they didn’t ask it. Instead, John Howard and Malcolm Turnbull conspired to split the Republican vote by giving us a referendum question that would be opposed by as many Republicans as possible. I recall a very long hesitation before finally putting my tick in the box on that one, because the Republic on offer wasn’t a design that I agreed with.

Your English perspective should however be contrasted with the perspective of the great many Australians for whom the monarchy is a distant, alien imposition. For us, the monarchy is a symbol of a society we do not belong to, a society that engineered the genocide of the mid-1800’s in Ireland that reduced the population of that land by 50%, a genocide vastly greater and more cruel in extent than anything done to the Australian aborigenes and still remembered by the descendants of Australia’s largest ethnic minority who might not care so much about any member of their religious faith being excluded from the position of Australian head of state, but surely remember having to put up with – right up until the Whitlam era – the likes of David Jones accompanying their job ads with the note, “Catholics need not apply”.
Perhaps the one saving grace of the English monarchy is that a century ago it was taken over by a German family. The sight of the English kow-towing to a bunch of (increasingly nutty) Germans is some consolation to the rest of us, I suppose.

Mind you, if there’s one thing we might fear more than the homeopathy-friendly Charles “Windsor” aka von Saxe-Coburg on the throne, it’s what our appallingly talentless pool of politicians might replace him with.

dungfungus 12:33 pm 17 Nov 15
Blen_Carmichael 8:06 am 17 Nov 15

“The Queen is beloved by many here in Oz but her passing will signal the perfect time to cut the apron strings and fly the nest forever!”

It could signal the death of the Queen’s English too. http://www.bartleby.com/116/305.html

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2017 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
www.the-riotact.com | www.b2bmagazine.com.au | www.thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site