Dual citizenship: The question of allegiance

By Ashok Kumar

Australian Government led by Malcolm Turnbull is in minority following resignations by a few lawmakers over the dual citizenship issue. The dual citizenship  saga is spiraling as more and more and more Federal politicians fess up or not “being eligible lawmakers”.

What’s wrong with the dual citizenship? There are several countries in the world where the dual citizenship is accepted. India is not one of them and if one becomes citizen of another country first that person has to relinquish his/her Indian citizenship and surrender Indian Passport and the Consulate issues a certificate of surrender. But that is not the case with several European countries.  When one becomes Australian citizen one has to take oath of allegiance to Australia. So, one is bound by the Australian Constitution. More so, if the person is holding a public office.

In the dual citizenship case, the allegiance is divided between the parent country and adopted country. Dual citizenship gives voting rights in both countries. That will be a breach of allegiance to the Australian Constitution. Therefore, the Federal politicians or the lawmakers are quitting their seats to come out clean on the issue.

Mr. Turnbull learnt about the issue when a few Labor MPs or Senators were found holding dual citizenship but gradually Liberals also came under the scanner. Several MPs and Senators began resigning leading the Government fall into minority.  As recourse, both Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten are facilitating the orderly and sensible resolution of the situation by agreeing to have their colleagues prove, by December 1, that they are constitutionally fit to serve.

Once that it is done – and woe settled any member or senator who gets it wrong, for they will be potentially in contempt of Parliament, a transgression that can lead to a jail term – there will be more resignations and/or the High Court will decide how many by-elections will be required.

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Ashok Kumar

Ashok Kumar is an accomplished journalist with over 38 years of experience in the profession in various capacities. He was a sub-editor in Patriot and later Chief Sub-editor in The Hindustan Times, New Delhi. He has several published articles and reports in Patriot and HT. Published reports in The Blacktown Sun in Sydney. He had also been a tutor in journalism in the University of Western Sydney. He is currently Editor at The
Indian Sub-continent Times, Sydney.

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