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Citizenship test: court to decide whether Indigenous people can be deported from Australia

Helen Davidson reports in The Guardian (4.12.19) on a High Court hearing in which the Australian government contends that those who are not citizens - even if they are Indigenous - are aliens and the Home Affairs minister has the power to cancel their visas.

'The high court of Australia will this week examine a complicated question: can Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders be deported as aliens if they don’t hold Australian citizenship?

'The federal government says yes. But lawyers for two Indigenous men facing removal from the country, backed up by the Victorian state government, say there is another option: non-citizen non-alien.

'The special case hearing on Thursday before the full bench will examine a series of propositions, which were unusually put forward by the high court itself, and which go beyond the contentious issue of deportations.

'The Australian government contends it is an issue of binary definitions and that, because the men are not citizens, they are therefore aliens and the minister has the power to cancel their visas.

'Parties have already invoked significant precedents, including the Mabo ruling and the original act of colonisation, in arguing their cases.'

 

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