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Australians for Honest Politics set for a revival?

As reported by John Kelly in September, there has been an ongoing investigation into Tony Abbott’s eligibility to enter Parliament as dual citizenship precludes you from running for office.

Tony Magrathea filed a Freedom of Information application to the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Peta Credlin rejected his request stating, “The document you have sought is not an official document of a Minister and therefore there is no right of access to the document under the FOI Act.”

Ninemsm also asked for confirmation that the Prime Minister had renounced his British Citizenship. They were advised by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet that, “The Prime Minister is an Australian citizen and does not hold citizenship of any other country.”

Robert McMahon, Assistant Secretary of the Parliamentary and Government Branch, apparently disagrees with Credlin’s stonewalling.

On October 8 he responded to a FOI application lodged by Jan Olsen with the following:

Having regard to my knowledge of where documents potentially relevant to the applicant’s request would be held, if they existed, the following locations were searched:

  • The Department’s file management system
  • The Department’s current and former ministerial correspondence database
  • Computer drives of relevant branches in the Department
  • Email accounts of current officers in relevant branches in the Department

As a result of these searches, no relevant documents were found in the Department.

I am satisfied that all reasonable steps have been taken to identify documents relevant to the applicant’s request and that no documents relevant to the request are in the possession of the Department.

The British Home Office, following a FOI request, have also been unsuccessful in finding Tony’s RN form which relinquishes British citizenship.

I wonder where Credlin gets her information from and why she is keeping it a secret.

And now another rather ironic possible connection has emerged.

In the Sue vs Hill case, Henry Sue, a voter from Queensland, disputed the election of Hill and filed a petition under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 in the High Court of Australia, sitting in its capacity as the Court of Disputed Returns. Sue argued that on the date of Hill’s nomination to the Senate she was still a citizen of the United Kingdom and thus, because of the operation of section 44 of the Australian Constitution, was ineligible to be elected to the Parliament of Australia.

Terry Sharples, a former One Nation candidate who had stood for the Senate in the 1998 election as an independent candidate, made a similar petition. Because both cases involved constitutional questions, and were substantially identical, they were heard together from 11–13 May 1999.

In 1998, Abbott privately agreed to bankroll Terry Sharples, a disaffected One Nation member, to take legal action against Pauline Hanson.

Less than 2 weeks later, he categorically denied to the ABC that he had done so, and 18 months later he repeated the lie, this time to the Sydney Morning Herald’s Deborah Snow. But when she confronted him with his signed personal guarantee, he said that:

‘…misleading the ABC is not quite the same as misleading the Parliament as a political crime’.

He then created a slush fund he called Australians for Honest Politics and raised $100,000 for it from 12 people he declined to name. The fund began bankrolling more court actions against Hanson and her party.

Could Tony’s slush fund have financed the Sharples vs Hill case?

I wonder if Geoffrey Robertson might be interested in taking on a crowd-funded People vs Abbott case?

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46 comments

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  1. Matters Not

    Re Abbott and citizenship. I can’t see how Abbott’s renunciation of British Citizenship would exist on an Australian database. (Unless the Rhodes Scholarship mob asked for and kept copies. Which I very much doubt.) As I understand it, one renounces one’s British citizenship in writing, paying a fee, and receiving confirmation thereafter. Accordingly there should be records in Britain but why in Australia ?

    Abbott should have (or had) that written confirmation. And Britain should have a copy of his request and subsequent response.

    But I am only speculating.

  2. Kaye Lee

    These guys are trying to wind back freedom of information which is all the more reason to step up the campaign for government scrutiny and accountability.

    “The Abbott government is “clearly uncomfortable” with the level of scrutiny that comes with office hence the disbandment of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, which oversees freedom of information services and privacy complaints, the opposition says.

    As part of the federal budget handed down by Treasurer Joe Hockey on Tuesday night, the Abbott government has removed more than $10 million in funding from privacy and freedom of information services, and abolished the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

    Information Commissioner John McMillian, who loses his role leading the OAIC, told technology publication iTnews that he only heard about the plans a week ago. The cuts also abolish the Freedom of Information Commissioner position, held by Dr James Popple. The jobs of the more than 80 other staff within the Information Commission are also in danger, the opposition says.”

    http://www.smh.com.au/it-pro/government-it/abbott-government-uncomfortable-with-freedom-of-information-laws-opposition-20140514-zrc1r.html

    “Australians could be left with no appeal rights against government secrecy by the end of this year with the Senate set to block crucial changes to the Freedom of Information Act.

    Greens spokeswoman Senator Lee Rhiannon said the Greens would not support the FOI changes.

    “If passed, these laws will be a major blow to freedom of information and privacy protection,” she said.

    “The Coalition Government is the only winner out of this retrograde budget cut that will make it easier for them to operate with minimal scrutiny.

    The need to change the FOI Act before December 31 is not the only FOI issue facing the Federal Attorney-General.

    Labor has filed an appeal to the AAT for the release of the Attorney-General’s ministerial diary under FOI.

    Mr Brandis has refused to release his diary, claiming that complying with the FOI request would unreasonably interfere with the work of his office after Labor’s request for weekly printouts of Mr Brandis diary for his first six months in office.

    Mr Brandis’ office claims processing this simple request would occupy the Attorney-General himself for at least 40 hours and require considerable further effort from senior ministerial advisers.

    Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfuss said Julia Gillard published a public schedule on her website when she was prime minister and both UK prime minister David Cameron and US president Barack Obama both publicly release their official diary.

    “As the minister responsible for FOI laws Mr Brandis should be setting the standard for openness and accountability – not hiding behind poor excuses,” he said.”

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-03/senate-to-block-crucial-changes-to-freedom-of-information-act/5788266

  3. Kaye Lee

    I take your point Matters Not. My reading of it was they just searched correspondence for any mention of the fact with accompanying proof. With Credlin making such categorical statements one would assume she had made the relevant enquiries and so the documentation would be on record. The fact that it isn’t would suggest that she is just telling us to accept it even though she has seen no proof – no-one has.

    If British Home Office can’t find it then I would suggest it doesn’t exist or if it does, it post dates Tony’s election which could cost him a motza.

  4. DanDark

    Tony halfwit is still a British citizen, he is a typical British moron, and he is the biggest fraud that ever graced parliament, this country is now officially stuffed with the biggest pack of racist bigots, misogynist backward knuckle dragging Neanderthals ever born, its all a bit too late now, the country has tipped over and I doubt it will ever be Australia again, 2 more years of Captain Chaos and its assured he will totally wreck the joint, I just want to see the mother f*cker Abbott and his band of maggots 6 foot under pushing up daisies 🙂

  5. Matthew Oborne

    an iron curtain has gone down over Government.

  6. The Lion

    There is ONLY one way to find the truth about this matter and it requires the matter to be dealt with thus:
    A Writ of Mandamus applied for in the British High Court requiring the permanent Secretary of Home Office to provide Tony Abbotts form RN, in the event that a Form RN cannot be found a ruling by the said Judge that as a Form RN cannot be found he is still a British Citizen, on the basis that without such a document his Citizenship cannot be extinguished! Note that when the Writ is requested it should be pointed out that the Australian Constitution Act 1900 is a British Act made by a British Parliament and signed by the Queen of England Her Majesty Queen Victoria! If a British Judge rules he has British Citizenship there is nothing that can be done in Australia end of Story except to dismiss him immediately, also note that there is an additional matter in the Constitution which allows ANY person to claim 100 pounds for every day that the person has unlawfully sat in Parliament, now there will be a need to determine whether that is EVERY day since he started sitting in 1994 or every sitting Day! An application in Britain makes it very difficult for abuse and skull doggery by persons like the Attorney General and others!

  7. Matters Not

    When it comes to FOI requests I am somewhat ambivalent. Sure there is an ‘upside’. Citizens should have the right to ‘know’ about what information ‘authorities’ have on them personally, and to correct same if there are inaccuracies. They also should have the right to obtain generalised information about government actions and the like provided such information doesn’t threaten ‘security’ or isn’t ‘commercial in confidence’.

    Having said that, there is also a downside. Take schools as an example. Suspensions, exclusions and the like and the reasons for same are recorded in both State and Private schools. Such records are the ‘dirty washing’ that no school wants to advertise, generally speaking. Yet under FOI, the State school has to reveal all to the public while the Private school has no such obligation.

    Then there’s the ‘fishing expeditions’ practised by some sections of the media. Sometimes ‘government’ just can’t win. If they generate some ‘unpleasant’ facts then they have to be made available and if they recognise the possible (negative) political consequences and don’t collect the data, they can then be rightly criticised

    As for ‘diaries’, these are all stored electronically and can be retrieved in seconds. Even in Queensland Ministerial diaries are made available. Whether they be ‘true’ or ‘accurate’ is another matter.

  8. Kaye Lee

    Maybe some ministerial diaries are available but everything I read says Brandis refuses to release his. If it is common practice then why is he different? What has he got to hide?

  9. Citizen Diamond

    I can’t believe this issue has never come to the fore before – especially since Abbott must have made plenty of enemies during his time in politics (and prior in student politics) – it’s not like he’s jovial Mr Nice Guy who everyone likes. I wonder why no one has pursued this avenue of enquiry before? Or if the issue was ever raised with the Electoral Commission. Would it be worth submitting an FOI request to the Electoral Commission?

  10. Laura

    Can we create an actual Australians for Honest Politics that could try to gain some transparency please!

  11. Kaye Lee

    Citizen Diamond,

    The AEC does not require proof of citizenship. They ask the question on the form and take the answer as being honest.

    “Australia’s constitution, section 44, precludes dual nationals from becoming members of parliament, but the Australian Electoral Commission can not check on the nationality of candidates.

    They must rely on people telling the truth when they sign the declaration that they are eligible to stand for election to parliament.”

    http://www.northernstar.com.au/news/pms-office-denies-claims-tony-abbott-british-citiz/2374139/

  12. Matters Not

    If it is common practice then why is he different?

    I didn’t say it was common practice with the Feds. And it wasn’t common practice in Queensland until Newman I believe. My point is that ministerial diaries (and accurate ones at that) are essential to the running of a ministerial office. Copies of those diaries, in both paper and electronic forms, can easily be made available if one has the will.

    Indeed the lack of will suggests ‘something’ to hide.

  13. Truth Seeker

    Thanks kaye, love your work 🙂

    And as if we didn’t already know… “Tony, you’re a carbuncle on the arsehole of humanity!” My latest post 🙂

    –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

    Tony you’re a carbuncle

    On the arsehole of humanity

    Your mendaciousness and stupidity

    Are really self-explanatory

    Your policy direction screams

    “There’s questions about your sanity”

    And parading in your “Budgies” says

    You’re over endowed… with vanity
    ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

    The rest can be read here 😉

    Tony, you’re a carbuncle on the arsehole of humanity!

    Cheers 😀
    :

  14. Kaye Lee

    Truthie, you sure do have a way with words 🙂

  15. Truth Seeker

    Kaye thanks for that 🙂 and right back at ya! 😀

  16. Angie

    has anybody thought of asking wifey Margie this question and watch her avoid it or run like hell? surely she would have the so called documents in a safe place?

  17. Abbott's Australia

    Thanks, great work Kaye. This is quite something. As usual, the plot with Tony Abbott is thick, much like the man. Our intention is to get the petition closer to its target and harness the power of the supporters to raise profile and crowdfund a legal case as soon as we have targeted the most appropriate path. Please feel free to post good articles like this to the page as well.

  18. Kaye Lee

    Laura,

    A federal ICAC is what we need to get some honesty back into politics. Having said that, I would be happy to contribute to crowd funding to help save this country by whatever means available.

  19. Matters Not

    Angie, Abbott had to renounce his British citizenship in order to be eligible for his Rhodes Scholarship which was awarded in 1981. He married in 1988. Even if these ‘papers’ existed she was some distance from the ‘event’. My guess is she has never seen them

    Besides, apart from election campaigns, I suspect little communication between the two.

  20. Kaye Lee

    Matters Not,

    He had to take out Australian citizenship to get the Rhodes scholarship. This does not automatically renounce British citizenship. In fact I think he used his British passport to go there.

    And I agree about the “distance” and do not blame her. She seems like a decent woman.

  21. Matters Not

    Yes. But one can’t renounce British Citizenship without taking up another. Failure to take up another within 6 months negates the renunciation.

    That’s how I understand it at the moment. Not sure how that applied historically

  22. Kaye Lee

    Not sure what point you are making. As of the age of 24 he was a dual citizen. What no-one can find evidence for is the renunciation of british citizenship that would make him eligible to run for Parliament. Most people retain dual citizenship if they can because it is advantageous in many ways so without proof I have my doubts as to Tony thinking of this before the by-election in 94.

  23. John Lord

    I’m the green like. I also love your work.

  24. Peter Lowry

    Matters Not:
    Tony Abbott was NOT a Rhodes scholar, to be one you need to hold citizenship in another country. Tony was a British citizen during his studies. If you investigate more closely you can find this information, therefore your premise is wrong.

  25. lawrencewinder

    Could we deport him in an orange life-boat?

  26. Anthony Shorter

    Is there any organisation raising funds to do a UK FOI to check Abbott’s bona fides re renunciation of his Brit. citizenship.
    I would love to contribute if it even has a vague possibility of removing the thing from office

  27. Kaye Lee

    The FOI to the UK was made. They can’t find the documents (so far at least).

  28. Boganette Havalend

    Tony had to take out Australian citizenship to become a Rhodes Scholar, there is a record of this matter and it would appear that his application was ‘expedited’ to make sure he met the application deadline. I took out Australian Citizenship shortly after my 18th birthday; however, I still hold British and Canadian citizenship. Taking out one form of citizenship does not necessarily cancel or void citizenship in other countries. (There are a few cases where it does, but trust me, not in the case of someone with British citizenship taking out Australian citizenship).

    Google Eric Abetz and his citizenship history. He was elected when he held dual citizenship and only renounced his German citizenship when faced with a court challenge regarding his dual nationality.

  29. trevr

    Abbott’s rabble and the goose stepper hisself act on the premise of mind over matter as in I don’t mind and you don’t matter.

  30. Katie08

    We must get to the bottom of Abbott’s illegal DUAL BRITISH CITIZENSHIP! This is the one chance we have of removing this malignant, toxic little fascist whose sneering condescension for Australia and our egalitarian society is evident in EVERYTHING he does and says! Abbott is a British born elitist whose crawling, obsequious subservience to British snobbery and imperialism is nauseating .. the fact that he re-introduced the HATED knighthood system (a draconian system that is even despised throughout the UK) is evidence of his toxic, crawling acquiescence to everything that is British. Like the revolting, boring mongrel, Robert Menzies (whose hatred of Australia and Australians was legendary), Abbott believes that everything British is superior! His fawning admiration of the neoliberal fascist, Margaret Thatcher and the fact that he is desperately trying to do what she did, ie tear down the unions and drag Australia, kicking and screaming, into a cruel, callous Oligarchy where the rich get obscenely rich and the poor get NOTHING, is testament to just how alien the un-Australians Abbott, Cormann and Abetz are to Australians and our sense of fair play. Abbott didn’t even bother becoming an Australian citizen until the mid 1980’s and only then because he wanted to be one of the LEANERS (that his party now despise) and get a student government-subsidy which he now deprives our children! What a phony, disgraceful LIAR and contemptible hypocrite Abbott is! A short sighted MORON without an iota of credibility and zero moral compass. LET’S GET RID OF HIM NOW !!!!

  31. Katie08

    Boganette Haveland, you are entirely WRONG about dual citizenship being legal in Australia!! Article 44 (i) of the Australian Constitution CLEARLY STATES that it is ILLEGAL for any member of the FRONT CABINET OF GOVERNMENT to hold DUAL CITIZENSHIP WITH ANY OTHER COUNTRY … and England is an ALIEN country that has a history of betraying Australia in the past! DUAL CITIZENSHIP in office will have an impact on BOTH sides of government, although it has been PROVEN that Julia Gillard relinquished her Welsh/UK citizenship years ago! The reason for the law is this: that NO MEMBER of a ruling government should have allegiance to ANY OTHER COUNTRY other than Australia! This law has been blatantly discounted by some of the loathsome, anti-Australian fascists that line the LNP: Eric Abetz (a German dual national whose Uncle Otto was a high ranking officer in Hitler’s Nazi Party); the supremely arrogant condescending Mathias Cormann (a Belgian dual national) whose sneering scorn for Australia’s egalitarian society is clearly evident. Once again, the loathsome, despicable Abbott regime believe that THEY ARE ABOVE THE LAWS that govern the rest of us! Dual Citizenship is tolerated with ordinary citizens (like yourself) but, rightly, cannot be tolerated at the highest level of government where conflicting loyalties with other countries could impact on policies and decision affecting our country. This has already happened with Abbott … his dreadful pro-British bias and regressive short-sightedness is dragging our country back 30 years!

  32. Maureen

    ‘…misleading the ABC is not quite the same as misleading the Parliament as a political crime’.”

    Kay Lee great article thank you. Abbott regularly lies to the parliament but is continually rescued by the most biased Speaker in Australian political history and propped up by the Murdoch cult!

    What a pity, no its not a pity its downright incompetence, that programs like Four Corners, 7.30 Report and Lateline were not interested to investigate Tony Abbott’s role in the Ashbygate corruption scandal, before the election or even just after. They were contacted with all the material to that point! If they did Australia might not be in this quagmire of putrification, social and environmental destruction and the limiting of our privacy. I think even the better MSM journalists are partly to blame for whatever freedoms they loose to to their job and report the truth to the public!

  33. Boganette Havalend

    Katie08, please read my comment again. It is legal to hold dual citizenship in Australia. It is not legal for people to stand for election or be elected if they hold dual citizenship. 🙂

    I was replying to the claim that taking out Australian Citizenship automatically cancels citizenship in other countries. From my experience and that of the rest of my family, taking out Australian citizenship does not cancel your British citizenship. There is nothing illegal about holding dual citizenship unless you want to be a member of parliament.

  34. Boganette Havalend

    From the govt website:

    Dual citizenship
    It is possible to hold citizenship of two or more countries if the law of those countries allow. This is known as dual, or multiple, citizenship.

    People can become dual citizens automatically, or after being granted citizenship of another country.

    For example, an Australian citizen may automatically gain citizenship of another country through marriage, while a permanent resident of Australia may become a dual citizen by becoming an Australian citizen.

    Prior to 4 April 2002, Australian citizens who became citizens of another country lost their Australian citizenship automatically.

    Australia allows its citizens to hold dual nationality. Other countries may not. To check if your country allows its citizens to hold dual or multiple citizenships, contact the embassy or consulate of that country in Australia.

  35. Boganette Havalend

    But hey, thanks for “tolerating” my multiple citizenship status. :/

  36. emailaverse

    It’s funny I always thought that the American “birthers” were a pack of nut-jobs grasping at straws, so I was willing to dismiss this issue. However the more I read I begin to sense that this could be the issue that brings him down because
    1. typifies that grand mal fraudulence of the man & his [sic] government, [&]
    2. seems to be clearly in breach of our crapulous constitution.
    So to the person who suggested Crowd funding Geoffry Robertson…
    Bring it on.

  37. JessieD

    This is a topic dear to my heart, since reading the relevant article by Tony Magreatha (? Spelling). I would be really happy to contribute to crowd funding. Abbott cannot be permitted to get away with this. I am 99% sure there has never been an RN document because the arrogant/ defiant approach fits Abbott to a “T”. After ruining Australia, he probably planned to scurry back to Blighty…except we will get the matter to the High Court first!

  38. Don Winther

    We could just send a letter to Vladimir Putin and explain the situation. I’m sure he would love to show Abbott how quickly the KGB can get to the bottom of things. I dont think Vlad likes Abbott.

  39. stephentardrew

    No matter how it turns out it is a sticky little puddle of mess hanging around their necks they want to avoid. Good time to speed up an attack. If anything it’s just another example of the fools nincompoopery with emphasis on the poop.

  40. kovin

    Abetz became a senator back in the 90’s… only renounced his german citizenship a few years ago…

  41. Kaye Lee

    Abetz won preselection to fill the casual vacancy caused by the resignation of Brian Archer in 1994, and was elected in his own right at the subsequent 1998 election and re-elected in 2004.

    On 30 July 2010, a Tasmanian resident, John Hawkins, lodged an objection to Abetz’s nomination for re-election, alleging that Abetz held dual citizenship of both his birthplace, Germany, and Australia. The Australian Constitution prevents someone who is a citizen of a foreign country from holding Parliamentary office. Hawkins subsequently withdrew the petition to the High Court of Australia after receiving documentation of Abetz’s renunciation of his German citizenship on 9 March 2010. The High Court never heard the claim.

    “Senator Abetz said he wrote to the German Embassy in 1993, renouncing any lingering claims to German citizenship he might have…. I renounced my German citizenship in that letter, full stop… that letter said that I understood my German citizenship had been forfeited back in 1974 when I became an Australian citizen, but that they should let me know if there was anything further that I needed to do. Senator Abetz said he never heard anything further, leaving him convinced he did not hold dual citizenship that could make his Senate nomination invalid.”

    So when I don’t hear back from the politicians that I write to regularly should I be convinced that they endorse what I have said?

  42. Katie08

    Boganette Haveland, I apologise for misreading your entry and I certainly did not mean anything when I said “tolerating”” … I should have used a better word, I agree. I am a great believer in multiculturalism and have friends from all over the world. I cannot abide what Scott Morrison and George Brandis are doing to Australia, a country that once welcomed people from around the world with open arms, a benevolent and progressive country free of the elitism and snobbery that plagues many countries in Europe …. until NOW! Abbott and his disgracefully arrogant fascists are turning Australia into a country overflowing with mean spirited bogans who believe that the racist rants of Brandis and Morrison give them permission to wear their hateful xenophobic intolerance like a badge. The vile vilification of minorities and destruction of Islamic mosques is reprehensible and totally ALIEN to the tolerant Australia I knew under the leadership of the enlightened Gough Whitlam. The whole western world is becoming a vile, ultra right wing, neoliberal nightmare … and Abbott is the most vile, cretinous mongrel in the western world!

  43. Leigh Oats

    . . . and the (British? still no comment from him!) prime minister of Australia, tilting so quixotically at nice clean white wind turbines, prefers dark satanic coal.

    Long live the Industrial Revolution, which still burns bright and nostalgic in the windmills of his muddled mind.

    I’m nostalgic for the days when the federal government front bench was warmed by the bottoms of people who had a sense of history, a sense of the present and a sense of the future, and who could think and talk at the same time.

  44. Leigh Oats

    Many a punter suspects that the main reason for the federal parliamentary Labor Party’s bizarre silence on the question of whether Tony Abbott still holds UK citizenship is that some Labor MHRs or senators quietly still hold citizenship of a country other than Australia, such as the UK, or at least that they did hold such second citizenship at the time that they gained a seat in parliament.

  45. Leigh Oats

    Says Boganette Havalend (“October 30, 2014 at 5:52 pm”):

    “It is legal to hold dual citizenship in Australia. It is not legal for people to stand for election or be elected if they hold dual citizenship.”

    You seem to be talking only about federal parliament. Just for the record I should point out that most states (I haven’t bothered to find which ones) allow a dual citizen to stand for election for and to take a seat in the respective state parliament.

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