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Minister to get unprecedented power if Australia’s new citizenship bill is passed

Sangeetha Pillai writes in The Conversation (16.6.17) that the federal government's proposed citizenship reform legislation gives the Immigration Minister a range of new powers that relate to various aspects of the citizenship acquisition process.

'The government has introduced legislation to reform Australia’s citizenship regime, under the guise of strengthening the integrity of citizenship. The bill, if passed in its current form, confers sweeping new powers on the immigration minister.

'Access to Australian citizenship has always involved some executive discretion. But if the bill is passed, the minister will gain unprecedented control over the criteria governing citizenship acquisition, the time it takes for a person to gain citizenship after their application has been approved, and even the circumstances in which citizenship can be revoked.

'The minister will also be able to override certain citizenship decisions made by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). ... It is not clear how these extensive ministerial powers strengthen the integrity of Australian citizenship.

'Quite the contrary, creating broad executive powers with minimal review undermines the rule of law. This, ironically, is said to be one of the fundamental values underpinning Australian citizenship.'

 

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