Australia passes anti-terrorism citizenship law

7 Dec 15

AUSTRALIA

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? The Australian Parliament has passed a bill to strip dual citizens of their Australian citizenship if they engage in terrorist activities or other serious crimes.

What does the change mean? The bill aims to address concern with the number of Australians who have travelled overseas to fight alongside terrorist groups, particularly in Syria and Iraq.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Australian Citizenship.
  • Who is affected: Dual citizens who engage in terrorist activities or other serious crimes.
  • Next steps: The bill will become law the day after it receives Royal Assent.

Background: Australian officials have been working to craft an Allegiance to Australia bill for months.

Under the final version, which was approved by Parliament on 4 December, Australians who hold dual citizenship would have their Australian citizenship stripped for engaging in terrorist activities, providing or receiving terrorism training, directing or financing activities of terrorist organizations, recruiting on behalf of terrorist organizations or fighting on behalf of a terrorist organization or country at war with Australia. Citizenship could also be stripped by determination of the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection in cases where dual citizens commit serious crimes that result in a prison sentence of at least six years and where the person’s conduct demonstrates “that the person has repudiated their allegiance to Australia.”

The Australian Citizenship Amendment (Allegiance to Australia) Bill applies to dual citizens ages 14 and older. Because it only affects dual citizens, officials are confident the bill will not leave anyone stateless.

BAL Analysis: The bill applies to a relatively narrow group of people, but officials nonetheless say it provides an important tool in Australia’s fight against terrorism. Attorney-General George Brandis said changes in the law “were necessary to reflect the current threat that Australia and the rest of the world faces.”

This alert has been provided by BAL Australia. For additional information, please contact australia@balglobal.com.

MARN: 9683856

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