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Citizenship Laws an Affront to Democracy

Media Release
Penny Wright 4 Aug 2015

Senator Wright has joined a chorus of voices raising concern about the Government’s proposed citizenship bill, as the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security meet to scrutinise the new legislation.

"These laws are a mess. Based on the charade of some “self-executing” event, they belie the fact that someone, somewhere has to make a decision about citizenship without properly testing the evidence. This poses huge concerns for human rights organizations, media outlets and lawyers,” said Senator Wright.

“Instead of upholding the idea of a fair go, these laws would allow a person’s citizenship to be removed on the basis of secret intelligence, rather than evidence tested in court.

"Making this some kind of administrative decision and bypassing the courts is an extraordinary abuse of power, and throws out the most basic democratic right we have.

“Indeed, because the alleged terrorist activity is not tested in a court before citizenship is revoked, these laws can be seen as a fundamental threat to the presumption of innocence in Australia. This would be a frightening precedent.

“These laws also represent yet another attack by this Government on journalists’ right to report. We risk seeing journalists lose their citizenship, as well as lengthy jail terms, because the new citizenship laws would be imposed on top of “the overreach” in previous anti-terrorism laws.

"My question today is, where is the so-called Opposition on this? It's disgraceful that the Labor Party hasn't come out strongly and loudly against these dangerous proposals.

“The parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security will hear from many groups critical of these draconian new laws over the next two days, and I fully expect them to be torn to shreds.

"This exposes just how intent the Abbott government is on exploiting fear in the community.

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