The Australian Cabinet, according to the Fairfax Press, had a vigorous debate about stripping the passports from Australian citizens who commit acts of terrorism or fight for the likes of ISIS.
The Cabinet decided to give the power to the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection to strip their passports if they were dual nationals. This would supposedly avoid making them stateless.
The cabal argued vigorously over the proposal to take away the citizenship of those who hold only Australian passport; so too the ‘softer’ two passports policy. According to Daniel Hurst in the Guardian Cabinet ‘deferred a decision on strong new powers against sole nationals after a cabinet backlash’.
Let’s make it crystal clear what the government is doing. It is abandoning its citizens. And not just that. It is doing so without evidence, or without due process.
The changes will give the Minister the power to strip dual nationals of their Australian citizenship on suspicion of terrorist activity. Let me emphasise that. ON SUSPICION OF TERRORIST ACTIVITY.
For those who like their history ironic, on this 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, here is what one clause says:
No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land. To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice.
Eight hundred years later what do we have the Australian government doing, again? No courts, no evidence tested in the courts, no judge and no jury. Just Peter Dutton deciding he doesn’t like the cut of your jib. And bingo. There you are, a dual citizen, without an Australian passport. Outlawed and exiled on the whim of Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, a latter day King John.
This has nothing to do with addressing terrorism. If it did we’d adopt the advice of Noam Chomsky and stop participating in it.
This latest anti-terrorism stunt has everything to do with shoring up support for a weak government. As the reality of the unfair 2015 Budget becomes clearer to more people the end result will be a government that ramps up, and up, the terrorism threat. It will play the fear card. Through ongoing scare campaigns including those about stripping citizens of their citizenship, the Abbott government will stoke, nudge nudge, wink wink, Islamophobia and racism and divert attention away for its rotten Budget.
Dual citizens are just the first target, the first domino to fall if you like. Next on the list is and will be Australian citizens with no other passport. Their time too will come.
This new direction also opens the door for an extension from the external enemy to the enemy within. According to Mark Kenny in the Fairfax media, Abbott said earlier:
“Effectively, what we are doing is acknowledging that in the modern world it’s not just people who are serving with an enemy army who are in a sense at odds with the whole nature of citizenship, but people who are working with terrorist organisations that hate our country, hate our way of life, hate our values. They have likewise put themselves outside the extended family of our nation.”
I of course do not work with a terrorist organisation but I hate Australian capitalism. I hate those values of the Australian ruling class that see it join in the slaughter of millions of innocents in foreign lands. The Australian government has been one of the biggest terrorist organisations in the world with its participation in imperialist wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq contributing to the deaths of over 4 million people.
The slaughter our ruling class undertakes happens not only overseas. Thousands die here in Australia as a result of local ruling class terrorism, whether it be, to name a few examples, the family terrorism that kills two women a week, the concentration camps for asylum seekers, the violence of the long slow genocide of Aboriginal people, or the weekly deaths and serious injuries on building sites in the name of profit.
I am a outside Abbott’s family. I am part of the family of workers worldwide. In times of social crisis I will be the enemy they try to imprison without trail, to render stateless in my country of birth.
Sound far fetched? How goes Julian Assange? What support has this government offered him?
A look at history shows the politically repressive nature of the Australian state. In World War I the government outlawed the Industrial Workers of the World using trumped up charges and convictions to justify their repression. For part of the time during World War II the Communists were banned. In the 1950s Menzies tried to outlaw the Communist Party.
Of course at the moment there are many ‘enemies’ within – hyped up terrorists, Muslims, Aborigines, dole bludgers, rorting mothers.
It is likely that only in times of social crisis with the anti-capitalist left on the rise that the State will actually feel the need to criminalise us. However given that Abbott’s world view is about the Australian family, or Team Australia as he so ineloquently put it some time ago, and I am not part of that team (and neither are Muslims or Aborigines), his us and them approach can lead to the demonisation and repression soon enough of serious political dissent.
The terrorism hype and changes to our immigration laws throw away basic rights to a trial and give incredible powers to the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. They undermine our freedoms here and now. They set a dangerous precedent. They prepare the way for further criminalising dissent in Australia.