Letters to the Editor || Geoffrey Hudson – High Court decision

The High Court has plunged Australia into parliamentary chaos. The relevant words in the Constitution are:

Any person who 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 & privileges of a subject or citizen of a foreign power: or “other reasons like bankruptcy” shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.

When the constitution was written, Australian citizenship did not exist – people born in Australia – and New Zealand and Scotland – were all British Subjects. The “foreign powers” were Germany, France, China etc. 

Yet now the High Court interprets “foreign power” as New Zealand or Scotland or England. More than that, they allow Sam Dastyari to remain in Parliament because Iran has no mechanism to allow him to renounce his citizenship of Iran. It beggars belief that they could excuse a citizen of Iran or North Korea from section 44 because they can’t terminate their citizenship. This ruling shows the willingness of the High Court to bend the rules for the sake of reasonableness. Why did they then bend the definition of “foreign power” to include British Commonwealth countries just because Australia changed its nationality status? I am sure that the founding fathers would be aghast at their action. 

You may not like Barnaby Joyce, but please vote for him this time to send a message to the High Court that the intention of the founding fathers should be followed. There will be another election in a year or two, but now is the time to tell the High Court that their decision did not pass the pub test.

Geoffrey Hudson

Briar Hill

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