Monday, November 13, 2017

Dual citizenship: blowing out the matchstick and ignoring the fire

Nick G

The ridiculous farce of politicians holding dual citizenship may be drawing to an end. A process for resolving the issue has been agreed between the two major parliamentary parties whereby Federal politicians will be required to publicly disclose their citizenship history and status by December 1.

This will hopefully bring to a close the imbroglio created, innocently enough, when Greens deputy leader Senator Scott Ludlum resigned on July 14 after announcing that he had just discovered that he held dual New Zealand and Australian citizenship.

In the ensuing four months pollie after pollie has come to grief on the rocks of Section 44 of the Australian Constitution. The only two to have acted with any integrity in the matter have been Ludlum and his Greens co-Senator Larissa Waters, who resigned after discovering she had dual Canadian and Australian citizenship.

Section 44 has a number of clauses, the first one of which reads: 44. Disqualification Any person who: (i) is under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or a citizen of a foreign power…shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.

What makes the past four months ridiculous is that the whole of our parliamentary cohort have been gathering around each other trying to blow out the flaring match of dual citizenship while in the background there remains the massive and unaddressed bushfire of “allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power”.

In a previous article (see “Joined at the hip”, or “under the thumb”? here: ) we listed various statements of lickspittle subservience, of craven allegiance, of anti-Australian adherence to the great and powerful states of which our ruling class has been merely a client, made by leading politicians of the day.

Not once in the capitalist press, which strives to hold public opinion within boundaries supportive of imperialist domination of Australia, has there been any attempt to compare the matchstick to the bushfire.

Not once has there been an attempt to compare a politician’s lack of knowledge about his or her dual citizenship status with the conscious pledge of loyalty required and made by all politicians to the world’s richest business-woman, the English Queen.

The oath (and the optional affirmation) says: “I, A.B., do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her heirs and successors according to law. So help me God!”

The affirmation is: “I, A.B., do solemnly and sincerely affirm and declare that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, Her heirs and successors according to law.”

Is it not remarkable that no Australian politician is required to swear to be  loyal to the Australian people, and to defend their rights and liberties?

Instead, they swear allegiance to the dual monarch -  to the Queen who is head of state of both Great Britain and (because our Constitution was a slap in the face to the Republican sentiment of the 1890s, and a pathetic compromise with the British imperialists) of Australia.

The Australian armed forces, who obediently follow foreign imperialist powers into whatever wars of aggression they decide to unleash upon the peoples of the world, have an even wider pledge of loyalty to the English Queen, promising to take on “her enemies”, whoever they may be, and however unrelated the case may be to Australian interests:  "I, (name), swear that I will well and truly serve Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her Heirs and Successors according to law, as a member of the (insert Australian Navy , Australian Army , or Australian Air Force ) ... and that I will resist her enemies and faithfully discharge my duty according to law. SO HELP ME GOD!"

The only change to the various oaths of loyalty was that made by the Keating government in 1994 in respect of citizenship ceremonies.  All reference to the Queen was dropped and intending citizens were required to repeat the following: “From this time forward, I pledge my loyalty to Australia and its people, whose democratic beliefs I share, whose rights and liberties I respect, and whose laws I will uphold and obey.”

That is certainly better than the ugly, antiquated and offensive parliamentary oath sworn by politicians.

But this is not about oaths; it is about actions.

It is about the representative institution of the Australian nation being an institution in the service of imperialist domination of Australian political life.

It is about the vast majority of politicians being active cheerleaders for the economic, political, military and cultural submission of Australia to US imperialism (in the first place at the current time).

It is about the acknowledgements of allegiance, obedience and adherence to US imperialism that are a consistent thread in the public utterances of those with parliamentary careers.

Yes, we elected them. Even at times of the greatest cynicism by the people towards politicians, there is an abiding loyalty to the principles of parliamentary democracy. Our role is to patiently educate the working class and other working people in the nature of the capitalist state, both as a coercive instrument of class rule, and as the shaper of all those compliant illusions that hold the people back from active struggle for independence and socialism.

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