For the first time, a notorious terrorist will be stripped of Australian citizenship under the Federal Government’s controversial national security laws introduced last year.
The test case is now with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and while the terrorist has not been named it is believed he will be prosecuted some time this year.
The burden of proof lies on the security agencies, a senior intelligence source has told media outlets. Organisations like the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and the Australian Federal Police were concerned that time would prove a constraint in trying to enforce the law before Australians fighting abroad would seek to return to Australia.
The Loss of Citizenship Board was established by the Federal Government in 2015. The board has de facto powers to strip dual nationals of citizenship.
It is believed that more than 50 Australians fighting in Iraq and Syria hold dual citizenship. Many of these people have been killed since the introduction of the law.
The government is preparing for the possibility of an immediate High Court challenge once the order has been authorised.
It is believed that more than 50 Australians fighting in Iraq and Syria hold dual citizenship. Many of these have been killed since the introduction of the law.
In an earlier report published by The Point Magazine, Chris Berg, a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs, said that revoking the citizenship of foreign fighters may not have any significant benefit for Australia’s national security.
“It’s very unlikely that this will have a material impact on the fight against terrorism,” he said. “What we know about foreign fighters is when they first go to fight in foreign war zones, they often destroy their passports and tell family and friends that they have gone over there permanently. This is a decision that they make to fight and possibly die in a foreign nation with no intent on returning.”
But he said the laws may have an impact on disillusioned foreign fighters who want to return to Australia, even if that means facing terrorism charges.
“What happens, however, is of course a lot of them go over there, fighting and dying is not actually as appealing as they originally thought and they want to come home. But I’m not sure if it will have an effect on those with the intentions to travel there in the first place,” he said.
According to the Migration Institute, since 1949, 4.6 million people – or almost a fifth of Australia’s population – have chosen to become Australian citizens while holding citizenship of another country.
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