Senate debates

Thursday, 30 November 2023


Consideration of Legislation

10:17 am

Photo of Murray WattMurray Watt (Queensland, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) Share this | | Hansard source

by leave—I move:

That the provisions of paragraphs (5) to (8) of standing order 111 not apply to the following bill, allowing it to be considered during this period of sittings:

Australian Citizenship Amendment (Citizenship Repudiation) Bill 2023.

I table a statement of reasons justifying the need for this bill to be considered during the sittings and seek leave to have the statement incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The statement read as follows—



Purpose of the Bill

The purpose of the Bill is to amend the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 to establish a revised citizenship cessation regime. This Bill is necessary following the decision of the High Court in Alexander v Minister for Home Affairs [2022] HCA 19 (Alexander) in which the High Court found section 36B of the Citizenship Act to be invalid, and subsequently Benbrika v Minister for Home Affairs [2023] HCA 33, in which section 36D was also found to be invalid. The revised citizenship cessation regime will ensure that dual Australian citizens who are convicted for certain offences, including terrorism, treason, sabotage, espionage, foreign interference, or certain explosives and lethal devices offences, and are found to have repudiated their allegiance to Australia, may have their Australian citizenship ceased in certain circumstances.

The amendments in the Bill would confer a power on a court, on application by the Minister for Home Affairs, to make an order ceasing the Australian citizenship of a person who is also a national or citizen of another country, where the person is convicted in an Australian jurisdiction of one or more specified offences, as an order concurrent with (but not after) sentencing for the offence or offences.

The Bill will amend the Citizenship Act and other relevant Acts to establish a revised citizenship cessation regime that appropriately addresses the implications of the decisions of the High Court in Alexander and Benbrika. The Bill will establish a court-based model for cessation of a dual citizen's Australian citizenship, in certain circumstances, where that person engages in specified conduct or is convicted of a specified offence that would amount to a fundamental repudiation of their allegiance to Australia and their responsibilities as an Australian citizen.

Reasons for Urgency

The Bill requires urgent passage in the 2023 Spring sittings following the High Court's decision in Benbrika v Minister for Home Affairs [2023] HCA 33.

The introduction of a revised regime, conferring a power on the courts to make a citizenship cessation order on conviction for certain specified offences, will ensure the Australian Government is appropriately placed to deal with conduct by dual Australian citizens that represents a fundamental repudiation of their responsibilities as a citizen to the State. The revised model will promote the value of Australian citizenship and the ongoing commitment to Australia and its shared values, while also contributing to the protection of the Australian community.

Question agreed to.