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Australia presents bill to revoke citizenship of terrorists

Canberra : The Australian government on Wednesday submitted to parliament a bill to revoke citizenship of Australians with dual nationality, fighting as jihadis or convicted of terrorist acts.

The Australian Citizenship Amendment (Allegiance to Australia) 2015, provides for automatic cancellation of citizenship of people with dual nationality, if they are fighting in any blacklisted foreign terrorist organisation.

Those who have dual nationality will also automatically lose their Australian citizenship if convicted by courts for any terrorist crime or “conduct”.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton explained terrorist conduct refers to the “use of explosive or lethal devices, provide or receive training connected with preparing for, engaging in or assisting in a terrorist act”.

He added that terrorist activities including recruitment, financing and participation in terrorist acts abroad are included too.

“Automatic loss of citizenship will occur if this behaviour occurs inside or outside Australia,” said Dutton.

The government expects the bill to amend Section 35 of the Citizenship Act that so far only suspends Australian citizenship when people are part of the armed forces of a country, at war with Australia.

Although the bill will not be retroactive, the government will ask the Parliamentary Committee on Security and Intelligence to analyse the possibility of doing so.

According to the Australian government, some 120 Australian citizens are currently fighting with the Islamic State, of which about 30 have died in combat, while 160 more are involved in financing and recruitment of supporters.

Twenty-one terrorist organisations have been blacklisted by Australia.