Local, Independant and Effective
November 26, 2015

Concerns about legal challenge to citizenship laws stalls Government legislation

Independent Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan AO, has acknowledged the government’s decision to seek clarification on an important piece of legislation.

The Australian Citizenship Amendment (Allegiance to Australia) legislation was scheduled to be voted on in the House of Representatives on Tuesday afternoon and today.

Minister for Immigration, Peter Dutton, told media today the Government was seeking advice of the Solicitor-General in relation to the potential for a High Court challenge. An amendment was likely to strengthen the Bill.  

“The Government is clearly listening to the Independents in Parliament and taken steps to ensure the legislation meets a higher standard,” she said.

Speaking to the Bill on Tuesday, Ms McGowan said one of her concerns was the uncertainty over the constitutional viability of the Bill.

University of Sydney constitutional law Professor Anne Twomey and constitutional lawyer George Williams have raised their concerns about the Bill being vulnerable to a challenge. The Shadow Attorney-General also raised concerns with the constitutional viability of the bill in his speech on the Bill on November 12.

Ms McGowan said the rule of law should be a paramount focus in Parliament.

“Our processes and procedures work to ensure that we have the highest possible standards of government and the best outcomes for the people of Australia,” she said.






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