Five Stripped Of Australian Citizenship Due To ISIS Involvement

Peter Dutton referenced a controversial piece of legislation when

Five more people have been stripped of their Australian citizenship due to their involvement with the terror group ISIS, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has confirmed.

All five were dual nationals who were "acting against Australia's interests" and had "effectively chosen to leave the Australian community," said Dutton.

"Cessation of Australian citizenship for dual nationals involved in terrorism is a key part of Australia’s response to international violent extremism and terrorism," he said.

"The Government is determined to deal with foreign terrorist fighters as far from our shores as possible to ensure that if they do return it is with forewarning and into the hands of authorities."

Laws giving the government the power to strip a dual national of their Australian citizenship for engaging in terrorism were passed in 2015.

So far, just one other person has lost their Australian citizenship this way.

"Islamic State has been a declared terrorist organisation for these purposes since May 2016," said Dutton.

"It is opposed to Australia, its people and its democratic rights and privileges.

"Fundamentally, citizenship requires allegiance to this country."

"The Government is determined to deal with foreign terrorist fighters as far from our shores as possible to ensure that if they do return it is with forewarning and into the hands of authorities."

The only other person to lose their citizenship under these laws was Khaled Sharrouf in February 2017. The 35-year-old gained global notoriety after posting a picture of his young son holding the severed head of a Syrian government official. It's believed he was killed several months later in an air strike, along with his two sons.

A supplied image obtained, Monday, Aug 3, 2015 of a Twitter post by an Islamic State fighter prompted fresh speculation that notorious Australian jihadist Khaled Sharrouf has been killed. Photo: AAP.
Legislation referenced "controversial", says lawyer

Dutton referenced a controversial amendment to the Australian Citizenship Act 2007, which gives the government to supersede the court system and boot someone from the country for terror-related offences, all without a trial.

He might have specifically mentioned section 35 of the act, but the law that states a person's Australian citizenship "automatically ceases if they act contrary to their allegiance" is actually the far more controversial section 33AA.

It's a piece of legislation that gives the government unprecedented powers.

"Basically, if the minister decides you're a terrorist, in the absence of actually being convicted of anything, you can still theoretically lose your citizenship by engaging in this conduct," said Marque Lawyers managing partner Michael Bradley.

A person accused of funneling money to ISIS from their home in Sydney could be booted from the country without going through the court system, Bradley said.

"ASIO would tell Dutton that this guy is financing terrorism overseas, Dutton then writes to the person and says, 'Hey, I see you've been doing this stuff, you've renounced your own citizenship', and then deports them from the country, all outside the court system."

The government has yet to put this legislation to the test.

"It's really controversial," said Bradley.

"If and when they do, I expect that it'll be challenged."