Morrison now seeks sole authority over citizenship decisions.

10 Dec

Diagram_of_citizenshipThe Department of Immigration and Border Protection, under the authority of Minister Scott Morrison, is in the process of seeking amendments to the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 that will give the minister draconian powers over not only asylum seekers, but  anyone who has become or wishes to become an Australian citizen.

The Australian Citizenship and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014, will give Morrison the power to set aside decisions made by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal on the character and identity of those applying for citizenship or who have already received it, in a public interest test determined solely by the Minister.

The DIBA submission to a Senate committee argues that an elected member of parliament and minister of the Crown has gained a particular insight into the community’s standards and values. This particular insight therefore qualifies Morrison to overrule AAT decisions. It is the bill’s intention to grant a minister, in this case Morrison, the power to determine an individual’s “good character” or otherwise, regardless of any ruling made by the AAT. Morrison’s decision will be unchallengeable.

The bill also aims to give Morrison the right to determine “fraud” or “misrepresentation” in applications for citizenship. In such instances Morrison can revoke papers regardless of whether or not the individual concerned has been convicted of either offence. 

That is, Morrison or the minister concerned has the power to determine “guilt” outside of any criminal proceedings, denying individuals the presumption of innocence.

The notion that anyone has particular insight or is entitled to absolute power because he or she is an MP and minister of the Crown is extremely dangerous. It is confusing the office with the human being who holds it. High office does not automatically endow its holder with integrity or insight. We are all too familiar with “killers in high places who say their prayers out loud” as Leonard Cohen puts it.

Morrison’s ongoing lunges for absolute power must be challenged. This is a liberal democracy. We do not have ministers who overrule the expert opinions of experienced tribunals. We do not have ministers who are above the rule of law and entitled to deprive any human being of the presumption of innocence. We do not have ministers who are answerable to nobody, whose decisions are unchallengeable, and who are allowed to carry out their department’s business in absolute secrecy. No, we do not.

28 Responses to “Morrison now seeks sole authority over citizenship decisions.”

  1. 8 Degrees of Latitude December 10, 2014 at 6:20 pm #

    There are sound reasons for securing borders and for ensuring that a manageable (as well as humane) system is constructed to regulate entry. There is no reason in a liberal democracy to endow anyone (politician or otherwise) with virtually unchallengeable power over anyone’s life.

    The legislation is very unsound for all sorts of reasons, but especially because it is rooted in political bullshit (which both sides of politics in Australia have fostered) that seeks to persuade people that Australia is under siege by malevolent persons.

    As well, the notion advanced to a Senate committee by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (shades of Orwell in that moniker) – that an elected member of parliament and minister of the Crown has gained a particular insight into the community’s standards and values – is simply farcical.

    As you note, it is also profoundly dangerous to the liberty Australians are accustomed to enjoying themselves. The people should insist that their own liberty should apply (within reasonable laws properly subject to judicial qualification in their application) to anyone under Australian jurisdiction.

    These days I am but one small voice (apparently in the wilderness) but I will make these points wherever I can.


  2. doug quixote December 10, 2014 at 7:47 pm #

    It goes from bad to worse with this despicable minister.

    We must all try to keep on his case.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. bjmuirhead December 10, 2014 at 8:42 pm #

    A movie made ten years ago of the activities this mob get up to would have been dismissed as an unrealistic farce.
    I continue to underestimate them, as much as I try not to do so.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gruffbutt December 10, 2014 at 10:35 pm #

    I agree with the first comment I saw under Antony’s article. Godwin be damned, Morrison and co are horribly close to the Nazi line. In any case, they crossed another one a long time ago.

    Why should an out and out prick get to decide on some poor innocent’s character? He wouldn’t know character if Mandela’s ghost emerged from a 200-year-old bottle of Scotch handed to him by a marathon-running Gaza escapee..

    And what the hell is going on with our parliament that he gets the numbers?


    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson December 12, 2014 at 6:28 am #

      They all believe it’s in their interests to destroy asylum seekers arriving by boat.


  5. paul walter December 11, 2014 at 2:05 am #

    Well, I think it is pathetic and wrongheaded. It must eventually come back on Morrison and his friends, this megalomania…absolute madness.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) December 11, 2014 at 8:41 am #

    Apologies for a tangential post, but Jennifer is experiencing some telecommunication infrastructural challenges at the moment. An excerpt from the dialogue:

    My Twitter, too, seems partially borked* this morning. Slow to load tweets, clicking on a tweet does not bring up details and the reply panel, a re-tweet cannot be made, and doubtless more crippled features.

    ‘Borked’ must be a Swedish word. As in ‘Assange is borked while America seeks absolution for torture’.


    • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) December 11, 2014 at 1:55 pm #

      Yesterday, before my twitter became borked this way, I was able to reply to this:

      with this:

      just for example.

      Now I have crippled Twitter. I mightn’t be able to tweet, but it seems I can still embed a tweet from yesterday at No Place for Sheep, the blog.


      • paul walter December 11, 2014 at 2:49 pm #

        If this site wasnt dedicated to a didactic repositioning of readers as to more thoughtful attitudes toward women, I’d go further than Forrest Gump and claim it to be a catfight, involving two of the most “Dallas” bitches Australian middle class society has produced.

        In one corner, Asbestos Barbie, ready to head off on the Champagne Shuttle, appropriately chaperoned by the Dickensian man of stone Andrew Robb.

        In the other, some thing that looks suspiciously like a wolf spider hidden at back of the web, getting ready for another feed after disposing of previous mates.

        We get a reolay of Rud retreating to the PM’s Office, antagonising those left out of theloop, but like a true conservative Abbott hasn’t learned from Rudds adventure, he too seems eager to avoid his colleagues lest they get in the way while he rules the galaxy.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jennifer Wilson December 12, 2014 at 6:27 am #

          Well you did anyway, regardless of my didactic efforts at repositioning! 🙂


      • paul walter December 13, 2014 at 5:44 pm #

        I so wanna comment and words fail me…


        • paul walter December 13, 2014 at 5:48 pm #

          On FG.s comments that is.. the pics.

          Jennifer, you didactic efforts at repositioning bring blessed relief and am now getting down toto getting on with the job.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) December 13, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

          Why is this so? Whatever is the matter? Why should words fail you? I but suggest a title appropriate to Limited News’s tweet. Their images did but evoke a response derived from old mental images of both Prince Felix Yusupov and (Mad Monk) Grigoriy Rasputin. Surely they (News Ltd) don’t think we haven’t been, and haven’t seen (my boys)?

          I like affixing titles to things. It is not a gender thing.

          Do please feel free to disagree, PW, if you do. It always worries me if words fail someone.


    • paul walter December 11, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

      I could write a novel on my recent battles with hackers, Emails and scammers and Telstra.

      A novel of pages just like the one above.

      Companies and public instittutions alike seem to revolve their public relations and repairs policies around blocking communication rather than facilitating it, on the excuse of cost cutting.


    • doug quixote December 11, 2014 at 7:35 pm #

      I’m not surprised Jennifer’s tweets (?) were borked; I’ll lay odds her windows are steamed up as well, after the next article!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson December 11, 2014 at 8:11 pm #

        I’m having serious difficulties with Telstra. Storms took out landline and Internet last week and I’ve been fighting with that bunch of chunts to fix it. So hardly ever online which is causing me considerable angst and withdrawal symptoms.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) December 14, 2014 at 10:21 am #

      The power of Twitter in word-of-keyboard advertising:

      I may not be able to reply to a tweet directly via my crippled computer version of Twitter, but I can embed one.

      I am sensing that there has in recent weeks come to be a concerted hobbling of the internet in general, and Twitter in particular, at least here in Australia. I’m keeping an open mind as to what interests might be behind any such attempt.

      I also have a suspicion that many so-called accidental disconnections of service by Telstra result from shortcuts taken in attempts to repair some customers’ services by appropriating the functional service of others. Whether this is Telstra ‘policy’, especially where the customer with the erstwhile functional service is with another provider, I cannot say.


      • Jennifer Wilson December 14, 2014 at 5:35 pm #

        Our problem was aged copper wire shat upon by bats. Now resolved.


        • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) December 16, 2014 at 8:15 am #

          They have given you a BATPHONE!!?? Holy Toledo, Jennifer, you must have some serious clout with Telstra!

          I wish I had a batphone. I would put tweets out on it.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Jennifer Wilson December 16, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

            I’m on the mountain, may go to St Bernard’s later. No bats.


      • paul walter December 15, 2014 at 7:27 pm #

        Now, THAT, from Talia, sums up my last six months dealing with Telstra.

        That they should repeatedly block peoples email arbitrarily and refuse cooperation in unblocking them, with the hints of conseqences from not stepping up to a relatively expensive two
        year protection plan is a bit poor and could well be a rort.

        I understand viruses are a problem for Telstra, but bitterly resent being expected to pay in terms of time and effort in getting things fixed, even if I did partially contribute to things myself and the stuff about needing a mobile phone to reset a password is laughable.


        • Jennifer Wilson December 15, 2014 at 8:29 pm #

          I don’t use them for Internet only landline. But really, is anyone else any better?

          Though Westnet has been pretty good I have to say.


  7. paul walter December 11, 2014 at 6:04 pm #

    Btw, for this thread have just remembered a story up at the Conversation, “Asylum seeker code is a rhetorical tool- with severe consequences”, by Elyse Methven and Anthea Vogel.

    It porduces two marvels.

    Firstly, it describes the miserable tyranising through petty legalese of asylum seekers already here in Australia.

    Secondly it provides a marvellous exercise in exposing a cynical drawing up legislation involving completely opaque and tendentious language so vague that it allows for and truly illustrates the notion of, gulity till proven innocent.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jennifer Wilson June 7, 2015 at 4:17 pm #

    lol Michael didn’t write that I did 🙂



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