Author Topic: I didn't know Australia had second-class citizens  (Read 1024 times)

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Offline dpareja

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I didn't know Australia had second-class citizens
« on: July 18, 2017, 12:08:36 pm »
http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/australian-senator-resigns-after-learning-she-s-also-canadian-1.4209902

Two Australian Senators, Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters, formerly co-deputy leaders of the Greens, have resigned after learning they held citizenships from other countries, New Zealand and Canada respectively.

I had no idea Australia had formal second-class citizens.
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Offline Askold

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Re: I didn't know Australia had second-class citizens
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2017, 02:57:04 pm »
It's not that they are second class citizens. It's just that people with dual-citizenship can't hold some government positions. Lots of countries have similar laws.
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Offline dpareja

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Re: I didn't know Australia had second-class citizens
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2017, 03:14:21 pm »
It's not that they are second class citizens. It's just that people with dual-citizenship can't hold some government positions. Lots of countries have similar laws.

...which, in my view, makes them second-class citizens, in that they do not have the same privileges as other citizens.

But then I'll admit my bias, because Canada's Constitution explicitly protects various rights regardless of citizenships held:

Charter, s. 3:

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Every citizen of Canada has the right to vote in an election of members of the House of Commons or of a legislative assembly and to be qualified for membership therein.

Note: nothing about not holding other citizenships.

Charter, s. 6(1):

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Every citizen of Canada has the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada.

Nothing about not holding other citizenships.

Charter, s. 15(1):

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Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.

National origin (which often implies multiple citizenships) is explicitly protected.

For that matter, two of our last three Governors General (Adrienne Clarkson and Michaëlle Jean) were foreign-born, in Hong Kong (under British rule) and Haiti, respectively.

So that's why I say that Australia has second-class citizens (if you hold another citizenship, you can't serve in Parliament). It's why I say that the US has second-class citizens (if you're not natural-born, you can't be President or Vice President).

And, for that matter, the Conservatives tried to create second-class citizens, by passing a law that allowed the government to strip Canadian citizenship from people holding multiple citizenships who were convicted of certain terrorism-related offences, but the Liberals have put a moratorium on doing so (it's at ministerial discretion, not automatic), the only person stripped of his citizenship in this way has had it restored by the courts (I believe, or it's in the process of going through the system), and at this point it's almost certain that either it'll be repealed legislatively or declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

So I find the notion that not all citizens are equal in their citizenship repugnant.
Quote from: Jordan Duram
It doesn't concern you, Sister, that kind of absolutist view of the universe? Right and wrong determined solely by a single all-knowing, all powerful being whose judgment cannot be questioned and in whose name the most horrendous acts can be sanctioned without appeal?

Quote
The plural of "anecdote" is not "data."

Quote
Be weird, cause normal is boring.

Offline Tolpuddle Martyr

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Re: I didn't know Australia had second-class citizens
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2017, 05:48:41 pm »
It's a shame, I'll always remember her as the senator who tried to save the Great Barrier Reef.

Offline Sigmaleph

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Re: I didn't know Australia had second-class citizens
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2017, 09:17:05 pm »
Did you know you can't become a senator in Canada unless you are at least 30 years old? Shameful.
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Offline dpareja

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Re: I didn't know Australia had second-class citizens
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2017, 09:24:58 pm »
Did you know you can't become a senator in Canada unless you are at least 30 years old? Shameful.

Did you know you can't become a senator in Argentina unless you are at least 30 years old? Shameful.

In all seriousness, I understand why the requirement was there initially, but I don't think it really needs to be there any more. I'd rather see something like requiring a graduate degree (or similar professional certification), with either that degree or an undergraduate degree from a Canadian university (but then I'm biased).

EDIT: And an age requirement is something that, barring unfortunate events, everybody will eventually attain; being natural-born (President of Argentina) is not; holding no other citizenships (Australian Parliament) is something that some people can't help (it's very hard to get rid of some countries' citizenships--I'm looking at you, USA).

EDIT #2: There are also property and net worth requirements for the Senate, but (excepting a technicality relating to Quebec) Parliament can do away with those by a simple majority vote should it wish to.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2017, 09:27:58 pm by dpareja »
Quote from: Jordan Duram
It doesn't concern you, Sister, that kind of absolutist view of the universe? Right and wrong determined solely by a single all-knowing, all powerful being whose judgment cannot be questioned and in whose name the most horrendous acts can be sanctioned without appeal?

Quote
The plural of "anecdote" is not "data."

Quote
Be weird, cause normal is boring.

Online Art Vandelay

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Re: I didn't know Australia had second-class citizens
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2017, 10:19:43 pm »
Having duel citizens in a position that involves dealing with foreign governments can create conflicts of interest. For example, were parliament to propose something that effects Canada in a negative way, then the Canadian government could use its control over the MP's Canadian citizenship and the privileges it grants in order to sway their vote. Basically, it's about making sure foreign governments don't have any undue leverage over our own.

Personally, I think it's quite reasonable. Far more so than an arbitrary age limit, for whatever that's worth.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2017, 11:09:00 pm by Art Vandelay »

Offline The_Queen

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Re: I didn't know Australia had second-class citizens
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2017, 11:06:35 pm »
Having duel citizens in a position that involves dealing with foreign governments can create conflicts of interest. For example, were parliament to propose something that effects Canada in a negative way, then the Canadian government could use its control over the MP's Canadian citizenship and the privileges it grants in order to sway their vote. Basically, it's about making sure foreign governments don't have any undue leverage over our own.

Personally, I think it's quite reasonable. Far more so than a arbitrary age limit, for whatever that's worth.

Hey, I for one have no problem with voting for dual-citizens. That is why I support the Russian-American Vladimir "Joe" Americanman for president in 2020



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Offline dpareja

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Re: I didn't know Australia had second-class citizens
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2017, 02:00:00 am »
Having duel citizens in a position that involves dealing with foreign governments can create conflicts of interest. For example, were parliament to propose something that effects Canada in a negative way, then the Canadian government could use its control over the MP's Canadian citizenship and the privileges it grants in order to sway their vote. Basically, it's about making sure foreign governments don't have any undue leverage over our own.

Personally, I think it's quite reasonable. Far more so than an arbitrary age limit, for whatever that's worth.

So, as I mentioned, it's very hard to give up US citizenship. (Largely because the US taxes all its citizens, no matter where they live, and they have to make sure that people aren't giving up their citizenship to avoid the estate tax or something.)

So if someone happens to be born as a dual Australia-US citizen (born on US soil to Australian parents, say), they have two citizenships through no fault or choice of their own, the non-Australian citizenship being very hard to be rid of, but who was raised in Australia and has no memories of being in the US (say the mother went into unexpected labour while on vacation), you're fine with that person being ineligible to serve in Parliament?

Because to me, if a member of Parliament appears to be unduly influenced by having another citizenship, then that's an issue to be taken up with that member by his or her constituents, and, if it is not resolved to their satisfaction, that member can be voted out of office in the next election. (For that matter, I want to see recall legislation at all levels of government, so it would happen even sooner.) And if Parliament thinks it's an issue, they can vote to expel the member.

As for age limits, I think they're there as a "life experience" thing, but given modern society, I think it would be more valuable to have people with sound academic or professional credentials in those offices, regardless of age.
Quote from: Jordan Duram
It doesn't concern you, Sister, that kind of absolutist view of the universe? Right and wrong determined solely by a single all-knowing, all powerful being whose judgment cannot be questioned and in whose name the most horrendous acts can be sanctioned without appeal?

Quote
The plural of "anecdote" is not "data."

Quote
Be weird, cause normal is boring.

Online Art Vandelay

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Re: I didn't know Australia had second-class citizens
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2017, 02:35:23 am »
So if someone happens to be born as a dual Australia-US citizen (born on US soil to Australian parents, say), they have two citizenships through no fault or choice of their own, the non-Australian citizenship being very hard to be rid of, but who was raised in Australia and has no memories of being in the US (say the mother went into unexpected labour while on vacation), you're fine with that person being ineligible to serve in Parliament?
Well, yes, actually. For starters, while it would be great if we had an accurate and reliable system for vetting the eligibility of any would-be candidates based on their individual experiences, that's not even remotely feasible. So yes, while some dual nationals who are genuinely indifferent to their second citizenship may get unfairly barred from running for office, keeping out those who in any way aren't and can therefore be influenced by their second country's government is a touch more important. Again, I know it sucks for some people, but I really don't see any way to have it both ways.

Offline dpareja

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Re: I didn't know Australia had second-class citizens
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2017, 02:48:38 am »
So if someone happens to be born as a dual Australia-US citizen (born on US soil to Australian parents, say), they have two citizenships through no fault or choice of their own, the non-Australian citizenship being very hard to be rid of, but who was raised in Australia and has no memories of being in the US (say the mother went into unexpected labour while on vacation), you're fine with that person being ineligible to serve in Parliament?
Well, yes, actually. For starters, while it would be great if we had an accurate and reliable system for vetting the eligibility of any would-be candidates based on their individual experiences, that's not even remotely feasible. So yes, while some dual nationals who are genuinely indifferent to their second citizenship may get unfairly barred from running for office, keeping out those who in any way aren't and can therefore be influenced by their second country's government is a touch more important. Again, I know it sucks for some people, but I really don't see any way to have it both ways.

And, to me, that's a matter for voters to determine. I'd have no issues with candidates having to be up-front about their other citizenships if they have them, but if their voters decide that they're OK with their representative having another citizenship, then that's their choice to make.
Quote from: Jordan Duram
It doesn't concern you, Sister, that kind of absolutist view of the universe? Right and wrong determined solely by a single all-knowing, all powerful being whose judgment cannot be questioned and in whose name the most horrendous acts can be sanctioned without appeal?

Quote
The plural of "anecdote" is not "data."

Quote
Be weird, cause normal is boring.

Online Art Vandelay

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Re: I didn't know Australia had second-class citizens
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2017, 04:40:26 am »
And, to me, that's a matter for voters to determine. I'd have no issues with candidates having to be up-front about their other citizenships if they have them, but if their voters decide that they're OK with their representative having another citizenship, then that's their choice to make.
Yet you want candidates to require a graduate degree, rather than letting the voters decide for themselves just how educated their representatives should be.

In any case, I feel like this discussion has veered a little too far into subjective opinions territory to be all that meaningful.

Offline The_Queen

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Re: I didn't know Australia had second-class citizens
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2017, 06:06:15 am »
I'll also point out the irony of the graduate degree requirement: in America's 2016 presidential election, limiting this to my recollection and those who got at least on delegate, only Hillary Clinton (juris doctorate), Ted Cruz (juris doctorate), Marco Rubio (juris doctorate) Ben Carson (medical doctorate), and Joan Stern (medical doctorate) had graduate degrees.
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Offline Askold

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Re: I didn't know Australia had second-class citizens
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2017, 06:08:01 am »
Also while age limits can only be waited out you can always give up your dual citizenship at a moments notice if you decide to run for a political position.
No matter what happens, no matter what my last words may end up being, I want everyone to claim that they were:
"If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine."
Aww, you guys rock. :)  I feel the love... and the pitchforks and torches.  Tingly!

Offline dpareja

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Re: I didn't know Australia had second-class citizens
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2017, 12:12:51 pm »
And, to me, that's a matter for voters to determine. I'd have no issues with candidates having to be up-front about their other citizenships if they have them, but if their voters decide that they're OK with their representative having another citizenship, then that's their choice to make.
Yet you want candidates to require a graduate degree, rather than letting the voters decide for themselves just how educated their representatives should be.

In any case, I feel like this discussion has veered a little too far into subjective opinions territory to be all that meaningful.

That's for the Canadian Senate, which is an appointed body of "sober second thought," and I want the people giving said second thought to federal legislation to have high qualifications. For the elected House of Commons and provincial legislative assemblies, I firmly back the Charter right of any Canadian citizen to be qualified for membership therein.

Also while age limits can only be waited out you can always give up your dual citizenship at a moments notice if you decide to run for a political position.

Look into the process of ditching US citizenship--I did because it affects someone I know. It ain't easy, and definitely not something you can do "at a moments [sic] notice".

And as for the US presidency... elected position, let the voters (i.e. the 538 electors) decide how qualified they want the President to be.
Quote from: Jordan Duram
It doesn't concern you, Sister, that kind of absolutist view of the universe? Right and wrong determined solely by a single all-knowing, all powerful being whose judgment cannot be questioned and in whose name the most horrendous acts can be sanctioned without appeal?

Quote
The plural of "anecdote" is not "data."

Quote
Be weird, cause normal is boring.