Stripping citizenship proposal "unacceptable and outrageous": NSWCCL

NSWCCL has condemned the Government's proposal to strip citizenship from Australians involved in terrorism as against the rule of law, and a particularly cynical attack on fundamental principles of the due process of law given the 800 year anniversary of the Magna Carta this month. 

President Stephen Blanks spoke to The Wire, claiming that by stripping either dual national or sole Australian citizens of their citizenship will subject those individuals to arbitrary detention "without any trial, without any evidence being presented to a court, without any judicial decision". He labelled this an "unacceptable and outrageous idea that should be rejected firmly by the community". 

Stephen rejected Prime Minister Tony Abbott's claim that the proposal respects the rule of law because it allows for judicial review. This gives no comfort given the failure of this process for negative ASIO security assessments: "The cases in which people have attempted to challenge negative ASIO assessments about them through a judicial review have ended up a miserable failure. ASIO is able to keep protected from the court the information on which it has relied in coming to its assessment, and the court has no way of testing if the information held by ASIO is reliable or not reliable. And most importantly, the defendant, the individual who is the subject of the decision, has no opportunity to see the information that ASIO has used or the Minister has used, no opportunity to challenge that information, no opportunity to provide any explanations, no opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses."

Stephen also raised concerns about citizenship implications for dependents and family members, and the slippery slope for citizenship laws of this kind: "In the UK, it's apparent that the citizenship laws don't just apply to people involved in terrorism, but they can apply to people in serious organized crime, for example," Stephen told The Wire, "So already we're seeing this thin edge of a wedge: you can start with terrorists, and then serious criminal gangsters. It won't be a big step to go to sex offenders and others."

Audio: Stripping citizenship from terror supporters a slippery slope

Source: The Wire, 01/06/2015