Contributed by Joe Montero
Opponents of One Nation, and especially those who cringe over Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts’ ridiculous political claims, might be chuckling over his being caught up in the dual citizenship saga, which has already claimed the scalps of the two Greens Senators.
But there is something wrong here. An outdated and unnecessary condition written into the Australian constitution rules out dual citizenship and standing for parliament.
There is no evidence that also being a national of another nation leads to not upholding the interests of Australians.
The anachronism sits in the constitution because this was a constitution born in an age where a fear of the non-white and non-Anglo-Saxon world prevailed. There can be no mistaking that it is tied to keeping Australia white.
It is ridiculous, because this is no longer part of our reality – if it ever was. Australia is a land whose inhabitants, other than the original ones, come from many lands, which to some extent integrates our society with all corners of the world. Internally, we are a mixture of cultures that is pooling together into a new and unique Australian identity.
This is not a weakness. It is a strength and we would be best served by building what we already have.
Denying the legitimacy of dual citizenship pushes in the opposite direction, being one of those things that pull us back to the past and creates an us and them division that promotes inequality within theAustralian population.
Those who suggest that other citizenships should be dropped miss the point. Our connection with other countries is part of who we are and it contributes to our collective heritage. This, in turn, helps to make Australia a better place to live in and to be a better global citizen. Dual citizenship is a part of this. Other countries recognize the benefit, so why shouldn’t we.
Australia’s constitutional restriction also pits against other nations that recognise those born overseas, but with parents born in the said other country as their own citizens.
This, plus the fact that many were born overseas, means that a very large number of Australians would also be denied the right to stand for parliament. It is a denial of what is supposed to be a basic principle of democracy.
For the individual affected by the restriction, there is the stigma and a denial of the right to have pride in one’s heritage. It has to go.