Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott doesn’t just talk tough on terrorism – he acts on it. On Wednesday his conservative coalition government will introduce new legislation stripping dual nationals of their Australian citizenship if they are involved in terrorism.
He also wants to ensure court-convicted foreign nationals can be deported for the same crime – their children and family members included. The legislation will be made retrospective if approved in its entire form.
“If someone is convicted of one or more of those offences, well, then their citizenship … will be forfeited,” Mr Abbott said in the national capital Canberra. The children of those who lose their citizenship will also lose theirs to ensure it is enforced with ‘full rigour’.
According to the MailOnline, Mr Abbott cited the 120 Australians known to be fighting overseas and the 160 identified as supporting proscribed terror organisations via financing and recruitment. Both groups will be targets of his broad-ranging plan to check terrorists wherever they are found. The prime minister said:
“Our intention always is as far as we humanly can to stop people from becoming terrorists in the first place.
“If people have become terrorists our intention is as far as we humanly can is to stop them from coming back. It’s about giving the government additional mechanisms for stopping hardened terrorists returning to Australia”.
The Citizenship Act already allows the automatic stripping of citizenship from someone who fights for foreign armies against Australia, but it will be expanded to include banned terrorist groups.
“As Australians, we will never, ever, sacrifice our freedoms, but we will defend them – that’s what this legislation is all about,” Mr Abbott said.
Mr Abbott’s radical plan will also eventually include provisions for the legislation to be retrospective, according to the Guardian. This would mean it would cover people who have already been convicted in Australia of terrorism offences.
“As drafted it is prospective, but given that we have a number of dual citizens currently in jail after terrorist convictions, the committee should consider whether it should have retrospective operation at least in those cases,” Abbott said, without revealing how far back it might extend.
“There are people who are dual nationals currently in jail on terrorist offences and at some point in the future they’ll be released and the question will then arise should they be deported.”
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