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The Presidents of the NSW, Victorian, Queensland and South Australian Councils for Civil Liberties and the Australian Council for Civil Liberties have put together a statement calling on the Australian Parliament to abandon the radical and misguided Australian Citizenship Amendment (Allegiance to Australia) Bill 2015.
In the aftermath of the recent tragic and brutal acts of terrorism in Paris, Lebanon and other places, the desire to take even more action to protect our community is strong and understandable.
However, this Bill, which will initiate a radical reshaping of the relationship between citizens and the state, is not an appropriate or effective response. It will not make, us or the world, safer. Arguably it will achieve the opposite. It is not necessary as the Government has more than adequate existing counter-terrorism/national security powers to deal with the conduct designated in the Bill.
Revoking citizenship as punishment for criminal activity – including terrorism - is not a globally responsible policy.
Citizenship is an important right which should not be treated as a gift to be withdrawn by politicians or as a penalty for unlawful activity.
We ask all members of Parliament to read the detailed statement on the revised Bill from the joint councils for civil liberties. We urge Parliament to abandon the Bill.