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Australia’s PM Scott Morrison Proposes Law To Strip Citizenship of Native-Born ‘Terrorists’



LAHORE MIRROR (Monitoring Desk)– Australia has unveiled plans to enhance government powers to strip all those Australian nationals from citizenship convicted of “terrorism” and to control the movements of Australian fighters who return home from the battlefields of Syria and Iraq.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday his government wanted powers to expel anyone convicted of a “terrorist” offence, even native-born Australians, as he singled out Muslim leaders as having a “special responsibility” to prevent acts of violence committed by members of the community.

“People who commit acts of terrorism have rejected absolutely everything that this country stands for,” Morrison told a hastily organised press conference in Sydney.

“This is something that can’t be tolerated, and for those who would engage in this sort of activity, and they have citizenship elsewhere, or we have reason to believe they do, they can go.”

This comes a day after Muslim leaders in Australia boycotted a roundtable meeting called by the conservative leader, who has asked the Muslim community to do more to halt attacks in the country.

Community leaders in an open letter said they are “deeply concerned and disappointed” with statements made by the prime minister and senior officials, which “infer that the community is collectively culpable for the criminal actions of individuals and should be doing more to prevent such acts of violence”.

“These statements have achieved nothing to address underlying issues, but rather, have alienated large segments of the Muslim community,” they said in the letter published by Australian media.

Australia’s current Citizenship Act allows authorities to revoke citizenship from people jailed for six years or more for “terrorist” activities, but only if they are already dual nationals.

Experts say the proposed legislation was likely to face legal challenges.

“It is not clear that the commonwealth has the power to kick out people who have been here for many many generations,” said Sangeetha Pillai, constitutional lawyer at the Kaldor Centre, University of New South.

“This legislation would make some people stateless at least temporary and in some cases, permanently.”