Aussie Extremists Could Lose Citizenship Under New Proposed Laws
Australian-born terrorists could soon be stripped of their citizenship and kicked out of the country far more easily, under sweeping new powers to be debated in parliament before Christmas.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will introduce new laws within weeks aimed at revoking citizenship from dual nationals convicted of terror offences, regardless of the length of their sentence.
He wants to remove an "unrealistic" requirement that a person be sentenced to at least six years behind bars.
"Terrorists have violated everything about what being an Australian is all about," Morrison told reporters in Sydney on Thursday.
"For those who have engaged in this sort of activity, if they have citizenship elsewhere, and we reasonably believe they do, well they can go."
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton would also be given far greater powers to revoke Australian citizenship from people he believes may be entitled to citizenship elsewhere.
Dutton could strip Australian citizenship from a convicted terrorist if he was "reasonably satisfied" they were entitled to foreign citizenship in another country.
The Law Council of Australia has flagged concerns about the changes.
"Measures to remove citizenship challenge key legal principles on which our democracy was founded, and therefore demand very careful consideration," council president Morry Bailes said.
Bailes said the coalition has also not made clear why a requirement convicted terrorists be sentenced to at least six years in jail before their citizenship is revoked - set through 2015 laws -- should be removed.
Many of the 400 suspected terrorists being monitored by ASIO are either dual nationals or believed to be eligible for citizenship overseas, based on the birthplaces of their parents or grandparents.
So far, nine dual-national terrorists have been stripped of their Australian citizenship.
Dutton estimates another 50 Australians may be open to losing their citizenship under existing laws, and expects far more dual nationals to be captured by the changes.
The proposed changes have been announced in response to the deadly Bourke Street attack, and the Melbourne arrests of three Australian men of Turkish ancestry, who are accused of planning a terror event.
Morrison also wants to introduce "temporary exclusion orders" of up to two years for foreign fighters returning from the Middle East.
Once back in Australia, the person would be subject to various controls including reporting to police, adhering to curfews and complying with restrictions on technology use.
The Law Council said the temporary exclusion orders may have the effect of rendering an Australian stateless for the duration of the order, which could contradict Australia's international obligations.
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