Historical Context of Dual Citizenship

Malcolm Turnbull has set December 1st as a deadline for every politician to declare their citizenship status and provide proof that they have renounced any foreign citizenship. This comes after Greens leader Richard Di Natale threatened to ask the Governor General to dissolve the parliament after a fresh round of politicians revealed they were dual citizens.

For many Australians, this ongoing saga has been bewildering. According to 2016 census 49% of Australians were either born overseas, or have a parent who was born overseas. In a multicultural nation, built on immigration, it seems unnecessary for a politician to resign, just because their parent was not born in Australia. In fact, the concept of Australian citizenship was not introduced until 1949; when section 44 was written, it referred to British citizenship. Until then some of our prime ministers were English, Scottish and even Chilean. Ebony Wilson spoke to political law expert Graeme Orr about the historical context of the dual citizenship law.