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“The reality is the rule of law is required to be followed by all Australians otherwise we’ll have chaos”

Why is it that every time the Coalition are caught out it is a witch hunt?

Kelly O’Dwyer, in a very ordinary and predictable display of meaningless bluster on Insiders, thinks expecting politicians to answer truthfully on the nomination declaration they sign before running for office is unreasonable. Any assertion that they may be ineligible is just a dirty smear campaign. Anyone with any doubts would of course immediately admit.

Ummmm….Kelly…..they didn’t fess up of their own accord. They didn’t bother checking their eligibility before signing a form declaring they complied with section 44 of the constitution.

The nomination form actually states:

Please read the candidate statement and declaration carefully before signing the nomination form. Your attention is drawn in particular to section 44 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia (which it quotes).

Candidates who have any doubts about their eligibility, by virtue of section 44 of the Constitution, are advised to obtain their own legal advice. For further information refer to the Candidates Handbook and the Nomination Guide.

*Answering ‘Yes’ to the question about eligibility under section 44 of the Constitution asserts eligibility. Giving false or misleading information is a serious offence.

Is it really that hard for those who were born overseas or had a parent born overseas to check?

Since this parliament was elected we have seen Senators Culleton, Day, Ludlum, Waters, Nash, Roberts and Parry all found ineligible along with Barnaby Joyce in the lower house.

All indications are that there are others who will join them.

And then there is Senator Barry O’Sullivan whose company is profiting from road construction funded using Federal money.

The hypocrisy from the Coalition is astonishing.

Have they forgotten about the dirt files on Labor politicians that now Senator James McGrath paid for which detailed a minister’s epilepsy and childhood adoption, claims about some politicians’ sexuality, sex lives, drinking habits and health matters, and included details of the schools of the children of government MPs?

What about Peta Credlin’s voluminous AWU file compiled to try to get Julia Gillard for legal work she did decades ago?

Who tipped off the media to be present when Craig Thomson was arrested and then strip searched?

Who referred Peter Slipper to the AFP instead of allowing him to pay back the $900 as he had offered to do?

Why did we pay tens of millions for a 9th inquiry into the home insulation program in an attempt to besmirch Kevin Rudd?

Why did the Trade Union Royal Commission spend so much time trying unsuccessfully to find dirt on Bill Shorten?

Tony Abbott and Peta Credlin made the very conscious strategic decision to play the man/woman rather than come up with better policies. Turnbull has happily continued in the same vein.

When Sally McManus suggested our industrial laws were unjust all hell broke loose with Christopher Pyne stating “The reality is the rule of law is required to be followed by all Australians otherwise we’ll have chaos.”

Well right back atcha buddy!


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  1. Clean livin

    Wrong, wrong wrong! You have forgotten the Golden Rule.

    “He who has the Gold, makes the rules”

  2. etnorb

    Never have truer words been written Kaye! However, we are dealing with the worst (or one of the worst) Governments ever in Australia’s history, so why would ANY of this inept lot of lying, obscenely over-paid so-called “politicians” really care about Laws & rules etc? It seems if they do not like any of these Laws or rules, then they just ignore them or treat them with disdain, as if ANY of our Laws actually apply to them! The classic case of course is the crap that is currently going on regarding Citizenship–or the lack of!–for any politicians. According to what you wrote, it is “illegal” & subject to penalties as a serious offence for not disclosing their Citizenship, but do any of them really care? The only time ANY of these Liberal eff wits care is when they can attack any of the Labor camp, raid offices at will, slander the names & reputations of the Labor politicians at will, ignore any laws etc they want, & so on! God help us if they actually get in at the next Federal Election!

  3. eefteeuu

    Kaye, talking about the reality of law….. Turnbull has just released a draft statement that he wants all sitting members of parliament to sign re the citizenship debacle. (see below).

    This is the full statement of the proposed requirements:

    “The House resolves that one, not later than 21 days from the date of the resolution and in subsequent parliaments being sworn in as a member, each member shall provide to the registrar of members interests a statement containing the following columns:
    a) declaration by the member that at that time the member nominated for election to the House of Representatives he or she was not, to the best of his or her knowledge and belief, a citizen of any country other than Australia;
    b) the declaration that the member, to the best of his or her knowledge and belief, is not a citizen of any other country apart from Australia;
    c) so far as the member is aware, the place and date of the member’s birth and citizenship which the member held at the time of birth;
    d) so far as the member is aware, the place and date of the birth of the member’s parents;
    e) whether, to the best of the member’s knowledgeable, the member has ever been a citizen of another country, and if so, which country or countries; and
    f) if the member has entered the previous questions in the affirmative, then provide details and evidence of the time and manner in which the member’s citizenship of the other country was renounced or otherwise came to an end that.” (sic)

    Mr Turnbull said any MP found to have made a false declaration would be found in contempt of the parliament.

    He said it would be up to the parliament to decide what the penalty for that should be.

    I`m no lawyer, but if this goes through Turnbull will have made Section 44 of the Constitution irrelevant.

  4. Kaye Lee

    Geeze Louise. They sign an effing form when they nominate. And what the hell does “to the best of his or her knowledge” mean in a court of law? Can I say, to the best of my knowledge, I thought the speed limit was 100? What is the point in signing another form when they obviously don’t give a crap about the first form they signed? All this Turnbull suggestion does is encourage people not to find out and you will be ok. “How could I know” will now be the defence du jour.

  5. Peter F

    What Christopher meant was “The reality is the rule of law is required to be followed by all OF YOU Australians otherwise we’ll have chaos.”

    Kaye, you really must pay closer attention.

  6. Phil

    I see Turnbull has scrabbled together a down and dirty solution. Quite the clever little boy he is – he’s going to get MPs and prospective MPs to sign something hah friggin hah! Every damned one of these poolticians signed the ‘Nomination of a Member of the House of Representatives form 60’ and every one of them found by the High Court to be invalidly elected answered YES on form 60 – thus they each gave false information because as Kaye shows us, form 60 makes this emphatic statement:

    *Answering ‘Yes’ to the question about eligibility under section 44 of the Constitution asserts eligibility.
    Giving false or misleading information is a serious offence.

    Now what I want to know is having each been found by the High Court to have committed the serious offence, what is the penalty?

    Methinks the serious offence threat is hollow and that many, especially conservative born-to-rule aspiring MPs know this to be so. I won’t cast that net over the ALP because it has a formal vetting process – but who would have thunk it? I thought the ALP was supposed to be a band of union thugs on the make – seems in fact the ALP is demonstrably fit to govern and the lying thugs and serious offenders currently infesting the government benches need to get out of the house pronto.

  7. Kaye Lee

    Turnbull government MP John Alexander is scrambling to confirm whether he is a dual citizen, which if proven would trigger a byelection that would further threaten the Coalition’s grip on power.

    Fairfax Media can reveal Mr Alexander’s father, Gilbert Alexander, was born in the UK and is likely to have conferred citizenship by descent to his son.

    The Liberal member for the Sydney seat of Bennelong has confirmed he never renounced any British citizenship before entering Parliament, and cannot say definitively whether his father did so before the former tennis champion’s birth in 1951.

    A spokesman for Mr Alexander said on Monday: “He believes his dad renounced his UK citizenship in the 41 years he lived in Australia before John was born. But of course he will fully participate in the process that the PM has just announced today.”

    Ummmm…what about the CURRENT law John? We don’t change the constitution via pressers…or do we?

  8. Matters Not

    Good intentions or beliefs won’t resolve the issue. It’s the outcomes or results that matter here. And in the High Court.

    Roberts advanced the intentions and belief line of argument and came a cropper. Now if there were mandated prison sentences for wrong declarations from this day forward, I suspect that the issue would soon sink without trace.

    Parliament could end this nonsense this month. Make prison sentences the mandatory penalty for a false declaration!

  9. diannaart

    What was Turncoat saying about the Greens senators Scott Ludlam & Larissa Waters?

    Oh that’s right:

    But Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is not sympathetic, telling Channel 9 the Greens have simply been sloppy.

    “It is pretty amazing, isn’t it, that you’ve had two out of nine Greens senators who didn’t realise that they were citizens of another country. And it shows incredible sloppiness on their part. You know, when you nominate for parliament, there is actually a question. You’ve got to address that Section 44 question, you’ve got to tick the box and confirm that you’re not a citizen of another country. So, it is … it’s extraordinary negligence on their part.”

    Do all Liberal and Nationals have to undergo a hypocrisy by-pass when elected?

  10. Ross

    You really do have to laugh. Some lawyer type in far off WA digging for a little dirt on the Greens sets off a political atomic explosion in Canberra that ends the careers of a number of sitting politicians and will probably end this coalition government a little earlier than expected.
    Well done that man.

  11. Kaye Lee

    Laws, like taxation, apply to other people. Remember, we are talking about people who do not need any qualifications, training, expertise or experience to get a job where all of a sudden, everything is paid for – trips to grand finals, family holidays, the opera, the polo – wherever you want to go, just chat to someone and it’s a work trip. We pay for their transport to and from work, for their telephones, their cars, their accommodation even when they are staying at a home they own, even their newspapers. Everything is “within entitlements”. They do a job that has no accountability, no performance assessment, no goals that have to be achieved to earn your six figure salary. Hell, you don;’t even have to turn up and most don’t unless the cameras are rolling or they are getting paid extra to sit on a committee.

    Julie Bishop said she’s “living the dream” and Malcolm Turnbull said he’s “never had more fun.”

    For starters, they should get rid of the bars in Parliament House!

  12. John Richardson

    I know it’s not federal politics but I think what goes on at a local government level is just as concerning & important … in fact, I think it is much more of an indicator of just how far corruption has gripped our so-called democratic system.
    To explain, in our local council elections in NSW last September, it emerged that a successful candidate had submitted a false candidate’s declaration, indicating that she was not a member of a political party.
    When the issue was raised with the NSW Electoral Commission, they responded that it was not their problem, as their job was just to ensure that the declaration was completed & not to ensure that it had been completed accurately & honestly. They suggested that the issue be referred to the Office of Local Government.
    Well, the Office of Local Government (bless their little hearts) also indicated that it wasn’t their problem either & helpfully suggested that the issue should be referred to the NSW Police, as they were responsible for ensuring compliance with the Oaths Act.
    Given that out local Police Station isn’t even manned most nights & given that our local constabulary might have other, more important, priorities to address, our local concerned citizens decided to drop the matter.
    A short time later it emerged that one of our councillors claimed to have received a vice-regal award for leadership, with the only problem being that the award doesn’t exist. When members of the community asked council to correct the public record, it simply ignored the request, as did our local media, including the ABC.
    I’m not the slightest bit surprised by any of the behaviour demonstrated by our so-called ‘elected representatives’, given that we long ago stopped educating our young people on the importance of honesty, integrity & ethical & moral behaviour & we now exist in the Graham Richardson world which is defined by his mantra of ‘doing whatever it takes’.
    Poor fellow my country!!

  13. Kronomex

    Malcolm’s new brainfart about dual citizenship reminds me of Vroomfondle and Majikthise from The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and their “I demand that I may or may not be…”

  14. LOVO

    Ah.., I can’t get that Queen song outta my head.
    Kaye, Would you know if anyone has actually seen Abbott’s renunciation? All I’ve seen is him flashing a piece of paper.
    One wonders how the pollies read policies when they can’t even get the nom form right even when their “..attention is drawn in particular..”
    “..signing the nomination form. Your attention is drawn in particular to section 44 of the Constitution..”
    Sad really……….except for the Libs and co ‘biting the dust’

    Now the bloody Australian Flag has confessed to being a dual-y. ?

  15. Matters Not


    get rid of the bars in Parliament House

    Why? It’s the only place where the absolute, unvarnished truth is told – especially late at night.

    Televise it instead!

  16. Andreas

    Love the depiction of the two forces of evil in subdued lighting…

  17. tet02

    It would be interesting to do a citizenship audit on retired politicians that are still sucking on the public teat. I’m sure it would be beneficial to the Aussie taxpayer, imagine the schools and hospitals that could be built if half a dozen of the useless mongrels had their “pension/salary for life” revoked due to dual citizenship. Surely there’s a journalist out there with the contacts to find out. Please……, pretty please……

  18. Ricardo29

    The penalties for making a false declaration, are usually quite specific: a fine or a term in the clink. Instead, those politicians now found to have signed false declarations, whether knowingly or not, apparently face no legal sanctions and no financial sanctions either. I would not want to see Ludlum or Waters, who I regard highly, particularly for their principled response to the citizenship issue, being either fined or prosecuted. However the law is the law as KL and others have noted.

  19. Glenn Barry

    Malcolm’s trying to hoodwink us yet again, still thinks we’re all stupid and gullible – shame on him for the Nth time

  20. metadatalata

    It shines a light on the role of all these ex-barristers and lawyers in Australian society masquerading as politicians when we see just how corrupt they are when their own culpability is questioned. I never believed the legal system was fair and this latest fiasco reinforces my beliefs.

  21. Florence nee Fedup

    Another malcon today/ His own side not even buying it. Why would Anderson father renounce UK citizenship?

  22. Pete Petrass

    It is my guess that Fizza’s form will be a step to creating an amnesty for the guilty LNP members. First and foremost he wants to stay PM and he will do anything to stay there. Abbott’s prediction that there will be more indicates to me he already knows, as does Fizza. Those being revealed now are those who have been caught out and many more remain in hiding. The LNP believe they are above the law and above criticism so it is BAU for them to witch hunt and thus, how dare anyone witch hunt the adults.

  23. Matters Not

    Re the Rule of Law – while it’s necessary it’s certainly not sufficient as tonight’s 4 Corners will demonstrate.

    Extra staff with sharper pencils and better phone manner(s) will do sweet f#ck all unless there’s changes to legislation. These companies are, in the main, obeying the law. Changing the Law is necessary. Fining companies is a cop out. It’s individuals that decide to break the law. It’s individuals that must be held accountable. And in all senses.

    The threat of Prison sentences tend to sharpen the mind.

  24. wam

    No excuses for the loonies and the lunatic born overseas but it is a simple matter to declare born in Australia negates all claims from other countries. QED no problems

    Oops there were refugees and asylum seeker children born in Australia.

    Quelle horreur cannot have that!!!! QED problems

  25. Ill fares the land

    Unfortunately for Malcolm, I understand that the Constitution is the “supreme” law of Australia and overrides any statute law to the extent of any inconsistency. The Constitution, as it is interpreted by the Full Bench of the High Court, imposes a factual test. In some cases it is simple, in others more complex, but section 44 does not impose a de minimus test – a politician either complies with the letter of the law, or they do not.

    My understanding (and I am happy to be corrected as I am not a Constitutional lawyer), is that any spurious, nonsensical “test” or declaration that is based upon a belief or an opinion as to one’s citizenship is simply of no relevance. If that were the case, the High Court would have found in favour of Malcolm Roberts – he of “the opinion that is more powerful than any fact” – able to vault over any truth with a single intellectual leap. This excuse for a solution from an excuse for a leader only encourages further sloppiness and lying. The reality appears to be that Labor wants an audit because it is confident that its internal protocols on this issue are robust – simply put, they are a bit smarter about this than the LNP. The LNP are scared spit less of an audit because they leave it up to the individual. so it seems, and that is, as we have seen, a recipe for disaster, because it is beyond buffoons like Joyce..

  26. Shutterbug

    Kaye’s writing is amongst the best in Australia. Seriously brilliant, accurate and superbly researched stuff that cuts right to the bone, something which many other journos would do well to emulate.

  27. Peter F

    Shutter, I agree. Kaye’s information is such that I often feel she must be at least ten people rolled into one. Even if she is, she is singularly amazing, and I go to her comments in any discussion.

  28. helvityni

    I pray and hope that Shorten does not go with Turnbull with this dual citizenship debacle; do what the Greens say, and have an audit. Clear this mess, and change the laws later,,,,

    I can’t even review their (Coalition) pictures accompanying these articles without feeling slightly nauseous….

  29. Harquebus

    It’s rule by law. Laws for them and laws for us. Not all of them are legislated.

    Even more insidious are endless rules and regulations. I did read that if, all were printed and in one place, it will fill 7 semi’s. I don’t know how true this is but, it would have to be large and no one person could ever know them all.

    Hypocrisy, in relation to politics, is an understatement.

    “Scratch an altruist and watch a hypocrite bleed.” — Michael Ghiselin

  30. Terry2

    to the best of his or her knowledge and belief, is not a citizen of any other country apart from Australia

    That’s not good enough, it encourages willful blindness : remember how Nelson, blind in one eye, who during the Battle of Copenhagen in 1801 was ordered by Admiral Sir Hyde Parker to discontinue action. The signal was transmitted by signal flags between the vessels ; Nelson lifted his telescope up to his blind eye, saying, “I really do not see the signal,” and he continued the action.

    To tighten it up you need to avoid as far as possible the turn a blind eye situation and include words to the effect :

    ……to the best of his or her knowledge and belief after extensive enquiry is not a citizen and not entitled to the rights and privileges of a subject or citizen of another country apart from Australia *whether by way of descent or any other process

    Remember we are dealing with tricky-Dickies here.

  31. Adrianne Haddow

    In a reasonable world, given the false declarations this ‘best educated ever’ government have made regarding their citizenship status, plus their failure to read documents and reports pertaining to their portfolios, parliament should be suspended, and any legislation passed during their false tenure should be null and void.

    I like the idea of them having to pay back the salaries and entitlements they received while sitting in government under false pretences. Just like the Centrelink recipients who suffered at the hands of the robo-debt debacle.
    Ditto the retired parasites who still suck from the public teat.

    Somebody could make a fortune writing ” Constitution for Dummies.”

  32. Kaye Lee

    One of the reasons given for all the special entitlements both during and after their political lives is that politicians have had to give up their careers for public service.

    But so many politicians continue to collect money from their share and property portfolios. They, or their spouses or children, continue to operate companies that benefit from government decisions. They go on paid speaking tours and write books whilst drawing a parliamentary salary.

    Bruce Billson was being paid to be a lobbyist whilst in parliament, a fact he didn’t declare. When asked about it in Senate estimates, George Brandis said it was “very appropriate” and “commonplace” for backbenchers to receive payments from third parties.

  33. tet02

    So if it was discovered that Bruce Billson, as an example, was a dual citizen while sitting in parliament, surely he would be ineligible for any pension / entitlements, and as is the case with the recent Centrelink crackdown have to pay any money received back I assume. Also, does anyone know if section 44 relates to state and/or local government as well?

  34. Kaye Lee


    Section 44 only relates to Federal government.

    Interestingly, Parliament passed the Common Informers (Parliamentary Disqualifications) Act 1975 which says that a person found to be ineligible is liable for a single payment of $200 for sitting in Parliament on or before the day they received notice of the suit challenging their eligibility, and a $200 payment for every day they sit in Parliament after receiving notice of the suit. A twelve-month statute of limitations has been introduced, and it is made explicit that a person may not be penalized twice for the same sitting.

    3 Penalty for sitting when disqualified

    (1) Any person who, whether before or after the commencement of this Act, has sat as a senator or as a member of the House of
    Representatives while he or she was a person declared by the Constitution to be incapable of so sitting shall be liable to pay
    to any person who sues for it in the High Court a sum equal to the total of:

    (a) $200 in respect of his or her having so sat on or before the day on which the originating process in the suit is served on
    him or her; and
    (b) $200 for every day, subsequent to that day, on which he or she is proved in the suit to have so sat.

    (2) A suit under this section shall not relate to any sitting of a person as a senator or as a member of the House of Representatives
    at a time earlier than 12 months before the day on which the suit is instituted.

    (3) The High Court shall refuse to make an order in a suit under this Act that would, in the opinion of the Court, cause the person
    against whom it was made to be penalized more than once in respect of any period or day of sitting as a senator or as a member of the House of Representatives.

  35. LOVO

    Kaye, one wonders if’n they’ll be able to claim/write that $200 per/day off… they can ?

  36. Michael Taylor

    LOVO, they’d claim 20 cents if they could. ?

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