The public groundswell on social media following Change.org's petition requesting Tony Abbott prove he's renounced his British citizenship continues unabated — despite Labor's indifference and a p*** weak media, reports Sydney bureau chief, Ross Jones.
YOU'VE GOT to hand it to Abbott, he’s a cunning little bastard. A stunt, you might say. He is also a flake who sometimes forgets to do stuff on the list:
- do anything for power (tick),
- destroy the joint for the IPA (tick),
- renounce British citizenship (d’oh).
Abbott's "to do list", item 3: renounce British citizenship
It’s impossible to know when this slap-head moment occurred, but occur it did. Long before he became PM, probably before he ran for parliament for the first time, he realised his mistake. But who was to know? Right? Press on.
No body or bodies police Section 44 of the Australian Constitution. No person, no institution. Let’s refresh our understanding of what S44 says:
44. Any person who -
(i.) Is under any acknowledgement 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 citizen of a foreign power: or
.... shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) is not empowered to ask candidates about their citizenship status and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) cannot act without AEC direction. The Attorney General (AG) can order the AEC to investigate allegations under S44. That is never going to happen, certainly not while George Brandis is AG.
So, Abbott is home clear he thinks, a secret buried until the full archives are released in 50 or so years.
But, there is always a but.
Listen to the full recorded exchange between Tony Magrathea and feisty prime ministerial receptionist, Diana, below:
Abbott’s “but” emerged in the form of Sunshine Coast battler, Tony Magrathea, whose endeavours have been well-documented in the pages of IA. Tony recently sent us a rundown of his results to date:
‘Mr Andrew Wilkie was asked if he would ask a question in parliament, he replied saying he couldn’t do that as his remit to be in parliament was for the people he represented and he did not want to call into question the validity of the Prime Minister.
Senator Christine Milne said she would try and get associates in the UK to see if they can get a copy of the paper work from the Home Office, none has been forthcoming.
Senator Claire Moore said she would look at asking in parliament but that was as far as things went.
Senator Ian Macdonald’s office advised that all LNP members know Mr Abbott is a dual citizen but they didn’t think that was illegal.
Senator Doug Cameron’s office advised that the matter was an irrelevance and not worth worrying about.
Senator Fiona Nash has asked Senator Brandis to examine the matter, she wrote in March 2015 and hasn’t had a response at the time of writing this.
Ms Terri Butler, member for Griffith wrote to Mr Abbott in January 2015 asking that he provide a copy of his renunciation papers, but there has been no reply yet. Ms Butler’s office advised that she can no longer ask about this matter; her party has decided that the agenda is much more important. I could not get any indication of what that agenda is.
Mr Bill Shorten, Ms Tanya Plibersek and Mr Adam Bandt were all given copies of Change.org's petition with 27,000 signatures on it requesting they ask Mr Abbott to show he has renounced his British citizenship. That was a complete waste of time. All three refused to do anything and didn’t even bother to respond to the author of the petition with an explanation.
The question has been raised by Channel 9 and Sky News in Australia, by Pravda in Russia, by the Daily Mail in the UK, but with no response or follow up.
Despite Abbott’s head in the sand denials, he refuses to release the single document - his Form RN (Declaration of Renunciation of British Citizenship) - that would clear the whole thing up in an instant. His main problem being the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet committed to writing that no such renunciation papers exist.’
The way the law stands, only a constituent action in the Court of Disputed Returns can force an enquiry and then only in a window of 40 days* following an election. Abbott knows several of his constituents are cocked and ready to go should he be successful in another election, but this might not be of interest to One Term Tony. His job is done; things have changed irreversibly. He has done his bit to destroy the joint.
Abbott "destroying the joint"
Ironically (or not), one of Abbott’s new ideas to hasten the demise of Australia is to attack the sanctity of Australian citizenship. The idea is that even an Australian-born citizen, without any other citizenship, could be stripped of Australian citizenship at the discretion of the immigration minister alone, without a suspect being charged or facing a court.
That is, it had been seriously raised in Cabinet that Immigration Minister Peter Dutton be given the power to deport anyone anytime, no questions. Goals full? No problem. Exile them to wander the arrivals halls of Schiphol, Orly and LaGuardia, scrounging Yuan outside the food courts. Believe it or not Cabinet was split on the matter. Split!
It was Dutton, of course, who suggested he be granted untrammelled totalitarian power over all Australians, but it was Abbott who supported him.
As I said, a stunt
PS: Magrathea’s fire and happiness are undiminished. The groundswell demanding Abbott show his RN grows despite a pathetic Labour party and piss-weak MSM.
* Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that a person has only two weeks to make an petition to the Court of Disputed Returns. In fact, it is (with some exceptions) 40 days from the return of the writ (Electoral Act 1918, s355 e(1)). For more information, click here.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License
Support independent journalism. Subscribe to IA for just $5.