Tony Abbott's British citizenship and the Warringah challenge

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There's no evidence Abbott ever renounced his UK citizenship – which, under the Australian Constitution, must be done to sit the Australian Federal Parliament – but who in Warringah will call him out on it? Ross Jones reports.

THERE ARE, apparently, 102,711 electors in the division of Warringah. 

Just 92,277 bothered to vote in the 2016 election and, of these, 5,611 were informal.

That means 15.6% of the Warringah electorate do not care a jot for democracy. Scary. Maybe it’s the salt water.

Of those who did bother to turn up, 44,759 cast their first vote for Tony Abbott who, despite his perfidy, scored 61% of the two party preferred (2PP). For the personification of a lying politician, that’s not bad. A measly 4% changed their minds.

But it’s not surprising — the Catholic Bruiser was up against a field of complete wimps with no stomach for a fight.

Why did they bother?

I guess Andrew Woodward picked up a few quid for Labor with his paltry 12,820 primary votes (down 4.54% for Labor by the way). The Greens snaffled some pocket money from their 10,565 votes and "The Idol" James Mathison updated his celebrity CV from his 9,887 votes — way ahead of Team Xenephon, but still way short of stardom.

But so what?

During a long and media-frenzied election campaign, none of these pillows dared reach into the darkness needed to win. The abyss was simply too much for them.

They started scared and, let me tell you, they still are. 

Abbott loves sporting metaphor, so let’s talk Achilles' heel — there is no evidence Abbott ever renounced his UK citizenship, necessary to be an MP, let alone PM. This is a legal requirement under Section 44(i) of the Constitution of Australia.

Easy meat you’d think. Show us your tits, mate, and so on.

But no. Silence.

I think they are scared of looking like nutters.

Immediately after IA started publishing Tony Magrathea’s evidence – or, rather, his forensic establishment of the lack thereof – online blog The Guardian jumped in, saying:

'The meat in the Abbott “birther” conspiracy pie is this: Abbott became an Australian citizen in 1981, but nowhere has it been reported as to whether he relinquished his British citizenship prior to 1994, when he was elected in the Warringah by-election (except where it has).'

(Don’t bother with the 'except where it has' because it hasn’t.)

Nonetheless, he still wants to see the documents. '[Abbott] has to tell the people when he renounced his British citizenship', Magrathea wrote on the blog Independent Australia. Until he does, the theory goes, we can’t be sure that he relinquished it.

… Why are people so willing to believe this stuff? Like the Obama birth certificate crowd, the idea that a hated politician can be brought undone without going through all the rigmarole of building a true political alternative is attractive. The proposition of Abbott facing karmic justice for the harsh nature of his government’s policies only adds to that attraction.

This Guardian piece was written by Cam Smith – who also photoshopped a fake Abbott British passport to include with his article (note below) – is, among other things, apparently:

'Australia's number one author of affordable avant-garde knock knock jokes.'


Anyway, being dubbed a "birther" is tantamount to being put in the paddock with dear old Aunty Dotty. That is, indeed, where the Obama birthers should reside, because in that case the documentation is clear — Obama was born in Hawaii.

The case for Brutus is, au contraire, far from clear, so we thought we’d ask a few of the candidates why they were such marshmallows and failed to ask the question.

Labor’s Andrew Woodward replied:

'Given that no media has pursued the matter, even when Mr Abbott was prime minister and his office has made a pretty unequivocal statement, I am not in a position to take this any further.'

No media? He should read more widely.

Independent candidate David Barrow told us:

While I am no fan of Tony Abbott, I believe it is highly unlikely that any member of a major party in Australia would not have renounced his or her foreign citizenship following the 1999 High Court decision concerning Senator Hill.

Silence does not mean guilt. Further, Abbott has a presumption of innocence and legitimate rights of privacy.

Legitimate right to privacy? Really?

It is worth noting the Australian-born Barrow was, as at 13 May 2016 – and, who knows, maybe still today – himself a dual national, holding UK citizenship thanks to his Welsh-born father. Not that it was ever going to matter, Barrow pulled just 253 votes in his quest for power.

Barrow stated on his website:

'After writs are issued 16 May 2016, I will lodge an Independent Candidate Nomination form to contest Warringah. Before Candidate Nominations then close on 9 June 2016, I will take "reasonable steps" to renounce my British Citizenship.' 

Greens candidate Clara Williams Roldan did not bother to reply to our detailed message.

All the candidates had the information. Not one used it, not even to sow doubt.

Getting to the truth in this matter will require at least one sufficiently concerned Warringah elector to stand up. Will there be a caped crusader?

Any challenge needs to be launched within 40 days of the writs being returned.

There are two weeks left. We shall see...

Ross Jones is the author of 'Ashbygate: The Plot to Destroy Australia's Speaker'. You may purchase this investigative exposé by clicking on the image below.

You can follow Ross Jones on Twitter @RPZJones.

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