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Aussies got birthers!

It sounds all too familiar. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abb0tt was born in London to a British father and Australian mother. He later emigrated to Australia and became Prime Minister. The Australian Constitution requires that the MP not hold any foreign citizenships.

“Show us the renunciation papers!” say 5400 petitioners. Abbott’s refusal to provide the document raises serious questions, they say.

Read more:

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31 Responses to Aussies got birthers!

  1. avatar
    Suranis September 3, 2014 at 11:26 pm #

    The joke about Tony Abbott is that he is religiously and hard rightly anti immigration… and yet is an immigrant himself.

    This video should tell you all you need to know about his rhetorical consistency

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3IaKVmkXuk

  2. avatar
    justlw September 4, 2014 at 12:23 am #

    “BC” ref, Doc?

  3. avatar
    Keith September 4, 2014 at 12:27 am #

    Consarn it!

    You beat me to it; I just logged on specifically to report this.

    Razzafratz.

  4. avatar
    MN-Skeptic September 4, 2014 at 12:31 am #

    Just an FYI, I think it’s usually spelled Aussies, with 2 s’s.

  5. avatar
    Keith September 4, 2014 at 12:36 am #

    This is an experimental post.

    I’m trying to get a youtube to play from a starting point to an ending point:

    How-doya-doit?

    Nope. Can’t do it. The above link is supposed to start at 1m55s (115seconds) and end at 2m02s (122seconds). It insists on playing the entire video. WordPress is transforming the URL in such a way that it doesn’t work as I would expect.

    Oh well. Sorry to take up the space Doc.

  6. avatar
    Keith September 4, 2014 at 12:44 am #

    By the way, this issue has caught out several politicians in the past. The Constitution doesn’t allow dual citizenship for Parliamentarians.

    Abbot is far from the first PM to be born overseas. Julia Gillard was born in Wales IIRC.

  7. avatar
    Keith September 4, 2014 at 1:02 am #

    Keith:
    By the way, this issue has caught out several politicians in the past. The Constitution doesn’t allow dual citizenship for Parliamentarians.

    Abbot is far from the first PM to be born overseas. Julia Gillard was born in Wales IIRC.

    I am referring to the AUSTRALIAN constitution by the way.

  8. avatar
    GLaB September 4, 2014 at 1:20 am #

    Melbourne Herald Sun.

    Farrar sighting. He must have a web-spider that alerts him to any mention of “birthers.”

    Somehow he has again omitted the facts that his claims were thrown out as having no probative value, and that he lost his case to an empty chair.

  9. avatar
    Craig HS September 4, 2014 at 5:56 am #

    Yes, the irony of this play hitting a far-right ideologue hits my funny bone in all the right ways.

    We’re desperately hoping he’s a single term Prime Minister. He’s been providing plenty of foot-in-mouth material to help make that happen, fortunately.

  10. avatar
    Bonsall Obot September 4, 2014 at 6:03 am #

    All that being said, this case is very different from President Obama’s.

    The law in Australia is clear: no dual citizenship for the PM. The current PM is known (not suspected, not fantasized, KNOWN) to have held citizenship in another country. It’s not unreasonable to expect him to prove to a competent authority that he no longer holds foreign citizenship.

  11. avatar
    bovril September 4, 2014 at 6:22 am #

    And of course he is being roundly ignored….😁

  12. avatar
    JPotter September 4, 2014 at 7:40 am #

    Can’t all the Queen’s children just get along….? C’mon, he’s the right color, he speaks the right language … I bet he even hates cane toads, right?

  13. avatar
    welsh dragon September 4, 2014 at 8:10 am #

    To add to the confusion, the Australian Constitution is in fact an Act of the British Parliament passed in 1900. So I suppose the question arises as to whether Britain is a “foreign power” in terms of the constitution. Common sense would say yes, but as for the law who knows?

  14. avatar
    Keith September 4, 2014 at 8:59 am #

    welsh dragon: So I suppose the question arises as to whether Britain is a “foreign power” in terms of the constitution. Common sense would say yes, but as for the law who knows?

    From Wikipedia:

    The Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1942 is an Act of the Australian Parliament that formally adopted the Statute of Westminster 1931, an Act of the British Imperial Parliament enabling the legislative independence of the various self-governing Dominions of the British Empire. The Statute of Westminster allowed the Dominion parliaments and governments to act independently of the British Parliament and Government.

    The Act is more important for its symbolic value than for the legal effect of its provisions. While Australia’s growing independence from the United Kingdom was well accepted, the adoption of the Statute of Westminster formally demonstrated Australia’s independence to the world. It also symbolized the shift in Australia’s foreign policy from a focus on the United Kingdom to the United States.

    So yes, Britain is foreign power to Australia. Australia even got its own passport in 1967 (before that, the words “British Passport” appeared on the cover) and in 1984 it decided to only issue passports to Australian citizens. Since 1984, Australians are no longer “British Subjects”.

    From National Archives of Australia

    Throughout the 1960s, Australian citizens were still required to declare their nationality as British. The term ‘Australian nationality’ had no official recognition or meaning until the Act was amended in 1969 and renamed the Citizenship Act. This followed a growing sense of Australian nationalism and the declining importance for Australians of the British Empire. In 1973 the Act was renamed the Australian Citizenship Act. It was not until 1984 that Australian citizens ceased to be British subjects.

  15. avatar
    realist September 4, 2014 at 9:40 am #

    GLaB:
    Melbourne Herald Sun.

    Farrar sighting.He must have a web-spider that alerts him to any mention of “birthers.”

    Somehow he has again omitted the facts that his claims were thrown out as having no probative value, and that he lost his case to an empty chair.

    Do you have a link to the article and his comments?

  16. avatar
    Bonsall Obot September 4, 2014 at 9:47 am #

    It’s the link in Doc’s OP.

  17. avatar
    Dave B. September 4, 2014 at 11:19 am #

    Reminds me of Justice Sutherland and all the grief he (on behalf of his brother justices) gave Bhagat SIngh Thind.

    Suranis:
    The joke about Tony Abbott is that he is religiously and hard rightly anti immigration… and yet is an immigrant himself.

    This video should tell you all you need to know about his rhetorical consistency

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3IaKVmkXuk

  18. avatar
    bob September 4, 2014 at 11:37 am #

    It sounds like, at the time of Abbott’s birth, the UK was not considered fully separate from Australia, and hence could not be “foreign.”

    Also: British citizenship law is complicated. It is quite possible that Abbott had a form of British citizenship (by descent) that was later extinguished.

    Still, hilarious that Farrar jumped in and everyone ignored his uniformed opinion.

  19. avatar
    Andrew Morris September 4, 2014 at 1:23 pm #

    What Abbott actually means is no non-white immigration.

  20. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 4, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

    You might try something like:

    https://www.youtube.com/embed/pRHgE2Yi3To?wmode=transparent&start=115&end=122&autoplay=1

    Keith:
    This is an experimental post.

    I’m trying to get a youtube to play from a starting point to an ending point:

    How-doya-doit?

    Nope. Can’t do it. The above link is supposed to start at 1m55s (115seconds) and end at 2m02s (122seconds). It insists on playing the entire video. WordPress is transforming the URL in such a way that it doesn’t work as I would expect.

    Oh well. Sorry to take up the space Doc.

  21. avatar
    Soduko September 4, 2014 at 3:06 pm #

    Keith: …It was not until 1984 that Australian citizens ceased to be British subjects.

    Seems like ALL of the Australian PMs/Parliamentarians prior 1984 would have had British citizenship.

  22. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 4, 2014 at 5:47 pm #

    Eh?

    justlw: “BC” ref, Doc?

  23. avatar
    Keith September 4, 2014 at 9:51 pm #

    Soduko: Seems like ALL of the Australian PMs/Parliamentarians prior 1984 would have had British citizenship.

    Yes. As in “British Empire”, not the United Kingdom. Abbot was born a citizen of the British Empire AND the United Kingdom and a subject of the Crown.

  24. avatar
    Keith September 4, 2014 at 11:34 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    You might try something like:

    https://www.youtube.com/embed/pRHgE2Yi3To?wmode=transparent&start=115&end=122&autoplay=1

    Thanks.

  25. avatar
    Slartibartfast September 5, 2014 at 12:06 am #

    Has anyone notified MichaelN that he can birf in his own country now?

  26. avatar
    justlw September 5, 2014 at 1:18 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    Eh?

    Thought it was a callback to “clams got legs!” Guess you had to be there.

  27. avatar
    Keith September 5, 2014 at 1:53 am #

    justlw: Thought it was a callback to “clams got legs!”Guess you had to be there.

    Careful, those clams might have to put a contract out on you.

  28. avatar
    Bonsall Obot September 5, 2014 at 4:23 am #

    justlw: Thought it was a callback to “clams got legs!”Guess you had to be there.

    I thought the same thing.

  29. avatar
    Mark Jeffery September 9, 2014 at 7:48 am #

    Doc, the issue is a little more serious than you suggest. Section 44 of the Australian Constitution requires that no Member of Parliament be a citizen of a “foreign power”. The High Court case Sue v Hill (1999), which cost Senator Heather Hill her seat in Parliament, clarified that the United Kingdom is a foreign power for the purposes of this section of the constitution.

    As well as Heather Hill, dual citizenship also cost Jackie Kelly her seat in Parliament in 1996(she was re-elected after renouncing her New Zealand citizenship) and legal action against senior government member Senator Eric Abetz was withdrawn only after he hastily renounced his German citizenship in 2010.

    There is no doubt that Abbott held UK citizenship, and renunciation of that citizenship requires he complete a “Form RN”. A freedom of Information request has been submitted in Britain for evidence of Abbott’s Form RN, with no result as yet.

    If Abbott has not renounced his UK citizenship, he is clearly and indisputably ineligible to be a member of the Australian Parliament (or Prime Minister, as the PM must be an MP).

    This is based on something a little more concrete than specious Kenyan birth theories, or arcane and bizarre interpretations of the meaning of “natural born citizen”. It is a clear cut legal issue, with with recent precedents, and if Abbott has not renounced his UK citizenship, he will lose office.

  30. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 9, 2014 at 9:31 am #

    Of course some speculation is true, and by using the label “birther” (which really came from the publication I cited), I didn’t mean to say that the Aussies were deluded or crazy like Obama birthers. I guess the tie in is that they are demanding to see documentation of something the PM said he had done.

    Mark Jeffery: Doc, the issue is a little more serious than you suggest.

  31. avatar
    Mark Jeffery September 10, 2014 at 4:19 am #

    A little more research indicates that the issue is likely to be a non-issue. According to s355(e) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act, amy challenge in the Court of Disputed Returns must take place within 40 days of the relevant election. S353(1) specifies that the only way in which an election result may be challenged is by such a petitition to the Court of Dusputed Returns.

    If Abbott turns out never to have renounced his UK citizenship, he can simply do so before the next election without any risk of penalty.