Our Federal Constitution

 
  allan Chief Commissioner

Our Federal Constitution is 120 years old, and functionally immutable. It is a product of the nineteenth century, and is unable to keep up with the times.

We need a new and relevant constitution. The question is "How can we go about it?".

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-18/abolish-the-constitution-and-start-again/8816488

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  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Leave the bloody thing alone.
If the politicians had followed the law Turnbull would not have to be making excuses now.
Imagine the gabfest of lawyers and politicians trying to make a new Constitution these days. I'd rather not..........
We need jobs for decent, honest working Australians not lawyers, 99.9% of whom give the remainder a bad name.
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
In a way this silly "subject of a foreign power" thing favours the big political parties and discriminates against the medium and small ones.

Large, cashed up, political parties like Labour and Liberal have the staff to do extensive background checks on candidates for the senate and winnable House of Reps seats. However the medium sized parties like Green and National don't. Small parties like NXT, One Nation and FF/Conservative have even less resources.

So it's not surprising that Lib and Lab have (so far) managed to avoid the controversy, while the medium and small parties have had the legitimacy of around half a dozen senators and MHRs questioned. Perhaps it's not so much sloppiness or laziness that meant the Greens and Nationals didn't do proper checks on their MPs, so much as they just don't have the money and the small numbers of staff working in their party HQs are already overstretched?

Of course being under resourced does not excuse the Nats and Greens, but it does explain why they have been at the centre of this sh*tstorm.
  allan Chief Commissioner

It's not just about section 44... I've just found my copy of this document: it dates from 1955, but it hasn't changed a lot since then. There are another 127 sections...

The Constitution does not make for light reading, but it is enlightening.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Could you imagine the delight of the gang of Constitutional lawyers trying to draft a new one at a squliion bucks an hour?
  Groundrelay Chief Commissioner

Location: Surrounded by Trolls!
Could you imagine the delight of the gang of Constitutional lawyers trying to draft a new one at a squliion bucks an hour?
Valvegear
Only to be given the flick in a referendum Surprised

The whole dual citizenship thing begs the question why it's only hit the fan now. Personally I believe we should be much tougher and require our nationals to renounce foreign citizenship. You can only serve one master!
  HardWorkingMan Chief Commissioner

Location: Echuca
also those found to be dual citizens should be forced to repay all monies received for salary or expenses and be barred from receiving parliamentary pensions.

Obtaining Money under false pretences or similar springs to mind

After all people should know their family history anyway. For most this would tell them whether they are considered to be citizens of another country.  It's common sense not thousands of dollars of research to find out. There are some general rules that most follow.

If a father was born overseas you usually qualify for citizenship there
If a mother is born overseas you probably qualify there too (some countries only worry about the male descendency)
If a grandparent is born overseas you may qualify there as well

beyond that it's rare for a country to consider you one of their citizens (I have never heard of a country going that far back but someone else may know one.

So you are only checking around 6 names in most cases.  Most people know which country their parents were born in so it shouldn't be that hard to find out
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
HWM, some countries have a sort of "right of return" thingy.

For instance, if you can demonstrate that you are of 51% German blood, no matter how many generations ago your ancestors left, you have the right to live in Germany. This rule was put in place to help German communities stuck behind the Iron Curtain in places such as Ukraine, Romania and Konigsberg (the ancient Prussian capital which the Soviets renamed Kaliningrad and expelled every single German from). As far as I know, this "right of return" still applies to people anywhere in the world of majority German ancestry.

Israel has a similar thing for Jews, any Jew, no matter what their ancestry, has the right to live in Israel (and I think automatic Israeli citizenship?). But this is fairly well known, so I assume all the Jews in Federal Parliament have gone to great lengths to renounce any connection to Israel.

There are probably a few other countries that have this sort of right of return as well. So if the High Court gets all hard core and adopts a "Black Letter Law" approach, a politician could be expelled from Parliament if they are descended from say... mostly Barossa Valley German stock, even if none of their ancestors have been near Germany in the last 150 years.
  allan Chief Commissioner
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

The whole constitution can be found at file:///C:/Users/AL2BBD~1/AppData/Local/Temp/2012_Australian_Constitution.pdf
allan
That's the location of where you've got the download stored on your hard drive, not the internet.

A better link is https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2005Q00193
  apw5910 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Location: Location.
The whole constitution can be found at file:///C:/Users/AL2BBD~1/AppData/Local/Temp/2012_Australian_Constitution.pdf
That's the location of where you've got the download stored on your hard drive, not the internet.

A better link is https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2005Q00193
justapassenger
Nah, let's hack his hard drive. "All your files belong to us!"
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

The whole constitution can be found at file:///C:/Users/AL2BBD~1/AppData/Local/Temp/2012_Australian_Constitution.pdf
That's the location of where you've got the download stored on your hard drive, not the internet.

A better link is https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2005Q00193
Nah, let's hack his hard drive. "All your files belong to us!"
apw5910
Would such an action be Constitutional? I guess we won't find out until we get in.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Leave the bloody thing alone.
If the politicians had followed the law Turnbull would not have to be making excuses now.
YM-Mundrabilla
Section 44 has been acknowledged by the High Court as being written too broadly, Nash, Joyce and Xenophon will be found to be lawfully elected, because the High Court has stated in the past that merely having a foreign country bestow citizenship on an Australian is not sufficient to have them be ineligible for Parliament.

Canavan is a tricky one, he had citizenship bestowed not by his own doing or request, I have a feeling the High Court will rule him valid, Waters and Ludlam had to go, they were born overseas, and as such should have known and understood that birthright is the international default for citizenship. Waters saying she left young and has never been back does not wash.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
In a way this silly "subject of a foreign power" thing favours the big political parties and discriminates against the medium and small ones.

Large, cashed up, political parties like Labour and Liberal have the staff to do extensive background checks on candidates for the senate and winnable House of Reps seats. However the medium sized parties like Green and National don't. Small parties like NXT, One Nation and FF/Conservative have even less resources.

So it's not surprising that Lib and Lab have (so far) managed to avoid the controversy, while the medium and small parties have had the legitimacy of around half a dozen senators and MHRs questioned. Perhaps it's not so much sloppiness or laziness that meant the Greens and Nationals didn't do proper checks on their MPs, so much as they just don't have the money and the small numbers of staff working in their party HQs are already overstretched?

Of course being under resourced does not excuse the Nats and Greens, but it does explain why they have been at the centre of this sh*tstorm.
Bogong
It doesn't favour the larger parties because they have more staff, it favours the parties that can read the Constitution and remember to ask their members of their birth country and citizenship(s). Bogong probably has not been involved in a political party, but they don't have a bunch of staff doing background checks, they don't have any staff doing any such checks. The 'checks' are done by the candidates, prompted by questions in the paperwork filled out before running.

Clearly The Greens had no such question about birth country - or if they did, did not bother to alert their candidates of the need to check their status in their birth country.

The reason for the NP members being questionable in status arises from the nonsensical situation where countries can declare citizenship on those who were not born there and never requested such citizenship. This would mean that my mother is now likely a UK citizen, despite only attending there once for a few days on holiday back in the 70s, entering and exiting on her AU passport (the only she's ever held or applied for). She/we never knew should would be not only eligible for (but seemingly granted by default), UK citizenship - it's absurd.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
also those found to be dual citizens should be forced to repay all monies received for salary or expenses and be barred from receiving parliamentary pensions.

Obtaining Money under false pretences or similar springs to mind
HardWorkingMan
Nope, they are safe with their money, and maybe rightly so, recall the only two invalid so far are Greens and I am no fan of theirs, and I am especially not a fan of Bob Day, but I still do not think they should pay back the money. They might be invalid, but I don't believe that any of them actually deliberately set out to mislead and they actually did the work whilst considered valid.

Then there's what the law actually states, which in lay terms is whilst they're under the colour of office, their actions are protected and deemed valid even if the member is invalid for office. In terms of finances, none of the current politicians valid or otherwise have much to worry about - and I actually think that's fair.

After all people should know their family history anyway. For most this would tell them whether they are considered to be citizens of another country.  It's common sense not thousands of dollars of research to find out. There are some general rules that most follow.

If a father was born overseas you usually qualify for citizenship there
HardWorkingMan
I have highlighted the words applicable for you, the issue here is that yes, many would think they might qualify, but having never applied, very few would consider that they could be granted without request citizenship to a non birth country.

99.99% of people would only consider themselves having citizenship of their birth country without at least applying for foreign citizenship. Politicians are no different - they would have never considered even the vaguest chance of non birth country citizenship by silent grant.
  allan Chief Commissioner

The whole constitution can be found at file:///C:/Users/AL2BBD~1/AppData/Local/Temp/2012_Australian_Constitution.pdf
That's the location of where you've got the download stored on your hard drive, not the internet.

A better link is https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2005Q00193
Nah, let's hack his hard drive. "All your files belong to us!"
apw5910
Not much of value there...

I guess that you can call me by any name - except conservative or geek - and get away with it!
  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

Leave the bloody thing alone.
If the politicians had followed the law Turnbull would not have to be making excuses now.
Section 44 has been acknowledged by the High Court as being written too broadly, Nash, Joyce and Xenophon will be found to be lawfully elected, because the High Court has stated in the past that merely having a foreign country bestow citizenship on an Australian is not sufficient to have them be ineligible for Parliament.

Canavan is a tricky one, he had citizenship bestowed not by his own doing or request, I have a feeling the High Court will rule him valid, Waters and Ludlam had to go, they were born overseas, and as such should have known and understood that birthright is the international default for citizenship. Waters saying she left young and has never been back does not wash.
Aaron
The HC might say s44 is too broad but at the end of the day they may not find in favor Joyce etc if they take a black letter approach. This court is not known for legal adventurism.
  theanimal Chief Commissioner

The whole constitution can be found at file:///C:/Users/AL2BBD~1/AppData/Local/Temp/2012_Australian_Constitution.pdf
That's the location of where you've got the download stored on your hard drive, not the internet.

A better link is https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2005Q00193
Nah, let's hack his hard drive. "All your files belong to us!"
Not much of value there...

I guess that you can call me by any name - except conservative or geek - and get away with it!
allan
I am leaning towards "dumb as dog s**t" Very Happy
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
Well there goes my chances of being elected to Parliament as my great great great Grandfather or something like that migrated from Hamburg in Germany to South Australia as free citizens a long time ago so that makes me German. At least I can go back to Germany though and claim my right to live there etc!

It does need clarifying though as to just how far back you go as technically no person in Australia except for maybe Aboriginals can claim to be 100% Australians. So if that is the case what happens then, Parliament would not get anyone elected really! Not being racist here just pointing this out! Not one white person could claim to be Australian though if that is the case of ancestry!
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
You're okay David. You have to be of majority German blood and it appears that Germany has changed the law so it now only applies to those of German ancestry from the former Soviet Union. (Perhaps too many people claimed the right of return from places like central Europe, USA, Argentina and Brazil?)

Anthropologists and other academics have had big debates on what qualifies as a "native" population. Some say that it has to do with culture and ancestral memory. My rough recollection is, the consensus is they think ancestral stories can reliably pass for around 6 generations before they start getting seriously changed. By that definition of 6 generations, many white Australians could qualify as native if their families have held a property for that long. (At least in theory, but we all know it would be never be recognised.)

On the other hand, some say that being native only applies to the first people to settle in an area. So the Vikings who arrived in Iceland circa 900 AD and the Maoris who arrived in New Zealand circa 1200 AD are true natives as they were the first to settle. However by that definition, the Anglo-Saxons who invaded England and southern Scotland circa 500 AD are not native, so perhaps they should pay compensation to Wales for pinching most of Britain from the ancestors of todays Welsh? Question

In reality the whole thing is a bucket of worms and perhaps we should treat everyone equally regardless of how long they have lived in a place?
  petan Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting to see a zebra using a zebra crossing!
Well there goes my chances of being elected to Parliament as my great great great Grandfather or something like that migrated from Hamburg in Germany to South Australia as free citizens a long time ago so that makes me German. At least I can go back to Germany though and claim my right to live there etc!
David Peters
Pig Iron Bob, Prime Minister Menzies, who is remembered in GM1, might not qualify to sit in parliament if you count too many grandfathers Smile
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Could you imagine the delight of the gang of Constitutional lawyers trying to draft a new one at a squliion bucks an hour?
Only to be given the flick in a referendum Surprised

The whole dual citizenship thing begs the question why it's only hit the fan now. Personally I believe we should be much tougher and require our nationals to renounce foreign citizenship. You can only serve one master!
Groundrelay
Why now, because somewhere somehow, someone found out.

I'd like to see the entire last 30-50 years history investigated to see how bad the issue really is. Other issue is its not always obvious as some think. My own case, I would be a dual citizen had my father done military service in his country of birth, but why would I bother to check (I only looked this up because of this issue), but as it was my father wasn't a citizen of any country for over 25 years because he didn't do military service the Australian govt broke their own law and Geneva convention agreement and he didn't know until he applied for a passport.

Agree on the one master
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
also those found to be dual citizens should be forced to repay all monies received for salary or expenses and be barred from receiving parliamentary pensions.

Obtaining Money under false pretences or similar springs to mind
Nope, they are safe with their money, and maybe rightly so, recall the only two invalid so far are Greens and I am no fan of theirs, and I am especially not a fan of Bob Day, but I still do not think they should pay back the money. They might be invalid, but I don't believe that any of them actually deliberately set out to mislead and they actually did the work whilst considered valid.

Then there's what the law actually states, which in lay terms is whilst they're under the colour of office, their actions are protected and deemed valid even if the member is invalid for office. In terms of finances, none of the current politicians valid or otherwise have much to worry about - and I actually think that's fair.

After all people should know their family history anyway. For most this would tell them whether they are considered to be citizens of another country.  It's common sense not thousands of dollars of research to find out. There are some general rules that most follow.

If a father was born overseas you usually qualify for citizenship there
I have highlighted the words applicable for you, the issue here is that yes, many would think they might qualify, but having never applied, very few would consider that they could be granted without request citizenship to a non birth country.

99.99% of people would only consider themselves having citizenship of their birth country without at least applying for foreign citizenship. Politicians are no different - they would have never considered even the vaguest chance of non birth country citizenship by silent grant.
Aaron
Thankyou Aaron for this voice of reason.

I personally don't agree with dual citizenship at all, especially those in power or military.

However if I was born in this country and never applied to any other country for citizenship, then I would not consider myself a citizen of that country and hence why do I need to check? Especially I've never traveled there and never requested a passport or anything else.

Additionally, other countries do change their laws from time to time and hence your dual citizenship status could change either way with out you even knowing. Australian law does not apply to what other countries may do unless its within Australia.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Well there goes my chances of being elected to Parliament as my great great great Grandfather or something like that migrated from Hamburg in Germany to South Australia as free citizens a long time ago so that makes me German. At least I can go back to Germany though and claim my right to live there etc!

It does need clarifying though as to just how far back you go as technically no person in Australia except for maybe Aboriginals can claim to be 100% Australians. So if that is the case what happens then, Parliament would not get anyone elected really! Not being racist here just pointing this out! Not one white person could claim to be Australian though if that is the case of ancestry!
David Peters
I think for the German thing to be considered German its more than by name and heritage, ie you need to speak the language and have observe some aspects of German culture.  

Aboriginals are no more "Australian" than the rest of us, they just moved he longer ago and physically their bodies have had time to adapt to the climate, ie skin is darker, curly hair, tall etc. If we go by who was here first, the mainland Aboriginals are almost in the same boat as the rest of us as the Tasmanian Aboriginals are more pure descendants of of the true "first Australians". And all this doesn't even take into account mix racial impacts. is a 50% Aboriginal less Australian than the a 100%? There (unfortunately) are no 100% Tasmanian Aboriginals left anymore, so does this reduce any claim they maybe  more closely related to the first Australians.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
As the ABC article highlights, there are a growing list of issues with the Australian constitution that will need to be dealt with at some point like it or not. No would should expect any document written in the 19th century to retain its validity without updates from time to time to reflect the changing political world and technology around us.

A few examples of other documents not updated
- USA right to bare arms, written at a time when a rifle fired only a single shot about 250m at best with various levels of accuracy and took 45sec to reload. Today used as justification to own a fully automatic assault rifle.

- The Bible, not use contraception, because 2000 years ago over population wasn't a problem. Applies to other religions too and I think most will understand why I don't make a specific reference.  (See my avatar location)

Until 1930, 30 years after Federation and the constitution being signed, the UK was still appointing the GG, was this forecast when the constitution was written?

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