Roberta2

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Roberta2 last won the day on January 20 2015

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  1. Changes to pathway to Citizenship

    +The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tony Smith, has signalled he will not use his casting vote to hand the Turnbull government a majority on legislation if the government fails to command a working majority on the floor. In an interview with the Guardian’s Australian Politics Live podcast, Smith says he would apply the same principle – don’t manufacture a majority that isn’t there – if there was ever a no-confidence motion moved against the government.+ The Guardian 5 May 2017. Comment: I had forgotten this. No doubt, the politicians on both sides have not. Helps explain further the desperation on Turnbull's part, as evidenced in Question Time today, with the absurd comments about the ALP colluding with a "foreign power" in order to verify Joyce's NZ citizenship. As Chris Ulmann said, most Australians do not think of NZ as either foreign or a power. (The role of the Speaker in the Australian House of Reps is slightly different from that in the House of Commons. For example, he or she still represents a constituency.)
  2. Changes to pathway to Citizenship

    Shorten does lack charisma, which people either have or they don't. He seems to be working on his speaking skills. But both the Liberals and the Greens are falling apart, and Labor has had a big lesson in the recent past about the perils of disunity.
  3. Changes to pathway to Citizenship

    Agree. A long line of duds. We had Rudd twice of course. But this has not been the norm in Australian politics to have such instability. To the contrary, the Menzies postwar government was in power from 1949 to 1972. Howard had eleven years, from 1996 to 2007. We have also had some spectacular policy failures over the last decade, notably in energy policy. It's probably true that governing has become a lot harder as the consequences of the GFC still work themselves out, and populists come out of the woodwork everywhere. Still, nothing quite as disastrous here as Brexit or Trump.
  4. Changes to pathway to Citizenship

    Abbott was a complete dud. Not even he thinks he can become PM again - all he is intent on doing is tearing down Turnbull and exacting revenge - which will make Shorten PM.
  5. Changes to pathway to Citizenship

    I am sure that the new Chief Justice of the High Court, Susan Kiefel, the first female Chief Justice, is not a fan of "mateship". She came up the hard way in Queensland, an especially blokey culture. Three of Turnbull's ministers have already had to grovel to her High Court because they were facing a credible threat of being held in contempt of court. But Turnbull seems to have learned nothing from that, so great is his desperation to cling onto his job. In relation to Joyce, Turnbull is waving around an "opinion" of the Solicitor General, written hastily over the weekend, which he won't reveal. The same Solicitor General who replaced the one bullied and harassed out of his job by Senator Brandis. No doubt Susan Kiefel knows all this and a lot more!
  6. Changes to pathway to Citizenship

    Turnbull is desperate of course because the survival of his government is suddenly at stake. But it comes especially badly from someone who was once a barrister who has appeared before the High Court himself. But in trying to rally his own flagging troops, and fend off Abbott the Wrecker, he needs to be careful whose nose he gets up. Not just on the High Court either, but the House crossbenchers. While all the attention so far re the Turnbull government has focused on the Senate crossbench, governments are made and unmade in the Reps.
  7. Changes to pathway to Citizenship

    True, although her case did not go to the High Court as far as I know. She was disqualified under both 44(iv) because she was a serving member of the RAAF when she nominated, and 44(i) because she had not taken steps to renounce NZ citizenship. She was a Liberal member. Only four years after the Skyes vs Cleary case, too. She was caught under BOTH sections of 44, as in Sykes-Cleary. Shows the Liberals were very careless at the time, no? The ALP is generally better at these things because they have better party machinery than the Libs. We will know very soon how well the Labor machinery has done its job re 44(i).
  8. Changes to pathway to Citizenship

    You might be tempted to think that Section 44 (i) cases have been common. Not so. The last one was Skyes vs Cleary in 1992. A quarter of a century ago. Anthony Green: +The previous case was Sykes v Cleary in 1992. The case disqualified Independent MP for Wills Phil Cleary for holding an “office of profit under the Crown” by Section 44(iv) of the Constitution. This is another archaic part of Section 44, but I won’t delve into its difficulties here. The Sykes v Cleary judgement also examined the citizenship status of Cleary’s election opponents. The Liberal candidate was born in Switzerland, was a naturalised Australian citizen, but still had Swiss citizenship. The Labor candidate was Greek born and caught in the same trap, a naturalised Australian but still possessing Greek citizenship. The majority of the High Court ruled that both were disqualified as they had not attempted to rid themselves of their foreign citizenship. The Court acknowledged that in some cases Australian citizens cannot rid themselves of foreign citizenship. Rather than let foreign law define whether an Australian citizen can run for Parliament, the High Court adopted a test in Australian law that a candidate must make “all reasonable steps” to rid themselves of other allegiances. Which is where Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters ran into problems. Neither had taken steps to rid themselves of their citizenship by birth. Both appear to be relatively clear extensions of the Sykes v Cleary ruling.+ Comment: time moves on, people forget. The Labor Party says that all its potential candidates are required to list the birthplaces of not only their parents, but all four grandparents. It may be that the ALP has had a better institutional memory than the others. But that remains to be proved. The government is busily probing the background of a number of ALP MPs. In Barnaby Joyce's case, the constitutional law expert Anne Twomey says that it could hinge on whether Barnaby Joyce's father was still a Kiwi citizen when Barnaby was born. It's pretty likely that he was - what reason would he have had to renounce his NZ citizenship? Anyway, as things stand at the moment, the NZ PM has said Joyce is a NZ citizen, and while the government may try to bluster for a few days more. Joyce will have to step down. Even Bob Katter, the maverick Qld independent backbencher (who has guaranteed no confidence and supply) says so.
  9. Changes to pathway to Citizenship

    Since Australian citizenship was available only in 1948, a large percentage of our politicians in the past would not have passed this test. Today the ALP says that all its elected politicians are "safe" because thoroughly vetted. We shall see. Certainly Turnbull was very unwise (and arrogant) to insist that the High Court was certain to rule in favour of Joyce. Not least because not long ago, a gaggle of Ministers came dangerously close to being held in contempt by the High Court, which is (rightly) always jealous of its prerogatives. I don't think section 44(i) is ludicrous at all. And it won't be ditched. Would you want to see Chinese dual nationals sitting in parliament, for example, when we know what a huge effort Beijing is making to exert influence in Australia? Or Russian dual citizens? Ditto a whole brace of authoritarian corrupt governments around the world - which is probably the majority.
  10. Changes to pathway to Citizenship

    It's not simple. Senator Waters was especially unlucky. She was born in Canada when her Australian parents were there only temporarily, brought back to Australia as a baby, and the Canadian laws were subsequently changed a very short time later. I am quite sure that Barnaby Joyce did not believe, until last week, that he had inherited NZ citizenship "by descent" because his father was born there. His father has been in Australia since 1947. (Of course the government were stupid to dump on the Greens, because that has now come back to bite them.) Until after the Second World War, Australians, Brits and Kiwis were all British subjects. (Not sure about Canada. Their constitutional evolution was always ahead of ours, probably due to the Quebec issue) The sense of identity as part of the British Empire was very strong, and in 1939 the Australian PM (Menzies) announced that because Britain was at war, Australia was too. Didn't bother to consult the Australian parliament. My father, whose parents were born here, went to war in 1942 as a "British subject". At the time the Australian Constitution came into effect in 1901, no one thought that the idea of dual citizenship was relevant to fellow members of the (white) British Empire. Rather, the target in 1901 was Germany. Reunified under Prussian "blood and iron", Germany had shown itself to be very aggressive, and by the end of the 19th Century was grabbing what was left re colonies in the South West Pacific, including part of New Guinea. In Australia, there were some quite large German colonies. Many German Protestants were in fact brought to Southeast Queensland, for example, by Queensland government immigration officials based in Prussia. Including my great great grandfather. So the notion that dual citizens could not sit in the Australian federal parliament was meant to keep out - in particular- anyone likely to put Germany's interests first. Today, I don't believe most people would want dual citizens to be able to sit in federal parliament. Obviously, anyone wanting preselection is going to have to take clear steps to find out if they are dual citizens - including by descent - and then renounce such citizenship if necessary. There is another part of Section 44 that is probably more of a longer term problem. That is in relation to "profit under the Crown". It means for example (the Phil Cleary case) that a schoolteacher has to resign before he or she even goes for preselection. That is, give up a permanent job before even trying to run for office. Applies also to the public service. Clearly anachronistic.
  11. Changes to pathway to Citizenship

    Section 44(i) of the Constitution has been like a wrecking ball lately. The only "fix" will be if the High Court changes its interpretation of 44(i), or if the Constitution is amended (always very difficult.) Of course Joyce will have to step down. The ALP and the Greens will keep up the attack in Question Time - and Barnaby will have to go because he will be seen to be "sucking all the oxygen" out of the government. However, it also seems possible that some of the Labor side will also be caught re 44(ii). What happens in the House of Representatives is, of course, much more important than the Senate. If the government were to lose a vote on the floor of the House, a new election would have to be called.
  12. Changes to pathway to Citizenship

    Presuming the government does not fall. Big cloud now over Barnaby Joyce's right to sit and vote in the House of Reps, where the government has only a one seat majority.
  13. Changes to pathway to Citizenship

    It was debated yesterday. Anyway, it will pass the House of Reps and be sent to the Senate - where the relevant committee will report on 4 September.
  14. Changes to pathway to Citizenship

    The Citizenship Bill is having its Second Reading in the House of Reps today. It's not getting much media attention, with all the other stuff going on.
  15. Changes to pathway to Citizenship

    Sorry - you are creating confusion because you are referring to the wrong Senate committee. The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee will report on 4 September. You are referring to the Senate Scrutiny of Bills Committee which has a much narrower function and is essentially irrelevant to this discussion.