Citizenship-stripping plan plays into the hands of extremists, says Liberty Victoria

Liberty Victoria press release 27 May 2015

The Federal Government is falling into a trap by harshly removing people's rights in the guise of fighting terrorism, Liberty Victoria said today.

"Giving a Minister the power to strip those with dual citizenship of their Australian citizenship if they are suspected of terrorism, with a meagre chance of review plays right into the hands of extremists," said Liberty President George Georgiou SC. "The political use of this power will inflame and incense those Australians who already feel demonised and demeaned."

Mr Georgiou said if the Government wants to take such a drastic step, then the power should be exercised by a court, and only on conviction not suspicion. "There must be due process done openly."

He said the proposed system of judicial review was not a sufficient safeguard for such a draconian step.

“Unless properly examined, such a decision could be based on rumour and hearsay from a foreign country.”

He said the government's plan rips away a foundation of our society, the separation of powers. "The judiciary needs to impose a penalty, not a politician who may be more concerned about the next opinion poll or election than about fairness.

"We have already seen appalling failures of judgement about refugees and it is utterly apparent that this latest step, based as it is on mere suspicion, has the trappings of a police state rather than a modern democracy."

Liberty Victoria