Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s controversial plan to strip nationals of their citizenship if they take part in terrorist activities has the overwhelming backing of voters across all mainstream parties. The proposal was first floated in May but a new poll reveals that three-quarters of voters back the plan.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, an exclusive Fairfax-Ipsos poll of 1402 voters, conducted from Thursday evening to Saturday night, revealed that 75 per cent of voters support the proposal, with 21 per cent opposed and just 4 per cent undecided.
The plan is popular with voters across the political spectrum, but most of all with conservatives: 89 per cent of Mr Abbott’s ruling conservative coalition back the measure, compared with 69 per cent of Labor voters and 49 per cent of Greens voters.
The Herald reports the Australian government unveiled the details of legislation earlier this year that would see terrorists who are dual nationals, both in Australia and overseas, stripped of their Australian citizenship by expanding the Australian Citizenship Act.
Although attacked at the time as unconstitutional by many legal experts, it appears the Australian public is prepared to take that risk.
Those new laws, which are currently being examined by the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence and Security, would allow for “renunciation by conduct”, meaning that if an Australian engaged in terrorism against Australia, citizenship would be automatically forfeited.
The laws could be applied to up to half of the 120 Australians fighting in the Middle East with Islamic State. Mr Abbott made the claim in May, adding:
“The legislation will update the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 to ensure dual nationals who serve or fight for terrorist groups, or engage in terrorism-related conduct inspired by terrorists groups, automatically lose their Australian citizenship.”
Figures revealed last month show 18 travellers were intercepted and “offloaded” from flights in the two weeks to April 22 by special teams at Australia’s eight international airports. The total number of “passenger offloads” for the past eight months has jumped to 267.
All those apprehended were suspected of wanting to travel to foreign battlefields to fight for ISIS.
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