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11 November 2014

New powers for Scott Morrison

Reader Susan Argall alerts us to yet another attack on our rights that should have us all extremely concerned.

The following is a post from November 7 from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC)

#‎BREAKING. Scott Morrison has introduced another new draconian Bill called “Australian Citizenship and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014″. It gives him the unreviewable power to cancel the citizenship of any Australian without any criminal conviction at all. Think about that. Being able to lose your Citizenship despite not having been found guilty of a criminal offence. (P.S This is not just for refugees but EVERYONE not born in Australia). Just 6 days was given for the public to make submissions (closed yesterday). Good news is we made a submission & will be appearing before the committee reviewing it on Monday, to fight the good fight to stop it!

This is an excerpt from the second reading of the Bill by Paul Fletcher on October 23...

“On occasion, the minister makes personal decisions under the act. The bill makes it clear that the minister can specify that such a decision is made in the public interest. As it is not appropriate for merits review to be available in respect of decisions that have been made by the minister personally the bill protects them from merits review. Judicial review will remain available.

The bill also provides the minister with a power to personally set aside certain decisions of the AAT if it is in the public interest to do so. The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection is concerned that some decisions made by the AAT have led to outcomes that are outside the community standards that citizenship policy is intended to meet, including recent occasions where the AAT found that people were of good character despite having been convicted of child sexual offences, manslaughter, people smuggling or domestic violence.

These amendments to protect the minister’s personal decisions from merits review and to allow the minister to set aside decisions of the AAT in certain circumstances will bring the minister’s powers under the Citizenship Act in line with similar powers under the Migration Act.

The bill also provides the minister with a power to make legislative instruments.

As Susan points out, “This is causing an enormous amount of fear and polarising the community. Idiots are posting that we should be trusting of our government’s intentions, that it is a good thing to behave to prevent certain communities from damaging Australia. This is further frightening all those that were not born here.”

Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:

  1. Everyone has the right to a nationality
  2. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality

Which brings into question the legality of these new powers.

One by one, the Ministers of this government are changing the laws to give themselves personal power bypassing review – Scott Morrison, George Brandis, Greg Hunt – all are winding back our rights and removing avenues to have their decisions reviewed.

This is NOT democracy.