Opinion

All Is Not Well For Peter Dutton

  The Australian Home Affairs Minister, Peter Dutton, needs to come clean on whether his office had advised him against talking to Fiji before stripping terrorist Neil Prakash of his
04 Jan 2019 13:30
All Is Not Well For Peter Dutton
Australia’s Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton stands by his declaration that Prakash, who is in a Turkish prison on terrorism charges, had been stripped of his Australian citizenship, saying he was a citizen of Fiji.

 

The Australian Home Affairs Minister, Peter Dutton, needs to come clean on whether his office had advised him against talking to Fiji before stripping terrorist Neil Prakash of his Australian citizenship.

According to the Herald Sun’s Anthony Galloway, there were tense discussions between the Australian Home Affairs and their Foreign Affairs departments over whether to notify other countries when it stripped the Melbourne-born Prakash and four other terrorists of their citizenship in early August.

The Herald Sun reports that: “It is understood Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton’s office had argued against advising the nations prior to the Citizenship Loss Board’s ruling.

“It comes as the Australian government has been trying to combat China’s influence in the Pacific by spending millions of dollars of infrastructure in Fiji, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison set to visit the key regional ally later this month.

“It’s believed the Fijian government has been left fuming amid suggestions it was never consulted before the Australian government made the move.

“Fijian immigration authorities have declared the extremist is not a citizen of the Pacific nation, saying he had never stepped foot in the country and his Fijian father never applied for his son’s citizenship.”

Mr Dutton stood by his declaration that Prakash, who is in a Turkish prison on terrorism charges, had been stripped of his Australian citizenship, saying he was a citizen of Fiji.

He said the decision to strip his citizenship was made after a thorough process by the Citizenship Loss Board, and the Australian government had been in contact with its Fijian counterparts since the decision was made.

Asked whether his office encouraged the government not to notify other countries, including Fiji, Mr Dutton said he “was not going to comment on that”, adding he had acted to “keep Australians safe”.

Under Australian law, a dual national can be stripped of their Australian citizenship if they have committed terrorist acts, but they cannot be rendered stateless.

Fijian law states that Prakash would have become a citizen of the country if his father was still a Fijian national when he was born, but under the 1997 Constitution, which is no longer in force, dual citizens were banned.

However, under the 2013 Constitution, dual citizenship is allowed but it is not automatic and former Fijian nationals and their children born outside of Fiji need to apply for it. The Department of Immigration has already categorically stated that they have not received any such application from Prakash or his father.

Director Immigration Nemani Vuniwaqa has repeatedly told the Fiji Sun that Prakash is not a Fijian citizen so there is no question of his forced links to Fiji.

The Herald Sun further reports: “The decision to strip Prakash of his citizenship, along with four other Australian members of Islamic State caused major tensions between Mr Dutton’s department and DFAT (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) over notifying other countries. Law Council of Australia President Arthur Moses said a “thorough investigation” was needed to confirm if Prakash was a Fijian citizen.

“Opposition immigration spokesman Shayne Neumann said Labor supported stripping dual citizens of their citizenship but there were “serious questions that Peter Dutton has to answer” about the Prakash case.”

Australia can hold as many investigations it needs in their own country but Mr Dutton needs to front up on the legal advice he received and whether or not there is a standoff between his office and their Foreign Affairs’ department on how this entire matter was handled.

 

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
error: