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Time to come clean, Tony

As a matter of public interest it is time for Tony Abbott to tell us whether or not he was holding dual citizenship when he entered parliament in 1994. And, he should also tell us exactly when he renounced his British citizenship. The issue goes directly to his eligibility to stand for parliament and needs to be answered sooner rather than later.

Indeed, one would think that he and his party would be only too willing to put this festering query to bed. The easiest way to do it is for him to produce his RN form. An RN form is the document that records one’s renunciation of one’s nationality and, in this case more importantly, the date it was done.

The essence of the query about Abbott’s position is that Section 44 of the Australian Constitution makes it clear that any person holding dual nationality is not eligible to stand for parliament. If Abbott did not renounce his British citizenship prior to entering parliament, he was ineligible.

Political candidates are required to sign a declaration on their nomination form stating that they are qualified under the Constitution and the laws of the Commonwealth to be elected to the Commonwealth Parliament. They need to do this every time they nominate. That is why it is necessary to know the date Abbott renounced his British citizenship. We are entitled to know whether he was eligible on each occasion he nominated.

Requests thus far by Tony Magrathea, a Queensland blogger, to have Abbott’s RN form released have been rejected. This, on its own, raises serious questions. Why won’t Abbott’s office produce evidence to show that any suggestion he was ineligible, is false?

credlinTony 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.”

One wonders why she would say that considering it would only serve to strengthen the resolve of those seeking an answer. Magrathea encountered a similar refusal from the British Home Office on what seems to be no more than a technicality; the application took more than three weeks to be processed.

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.” This, of course, does not answer the question. It does not tell us the date of his renunciation.

The ramifications of not resolving this issue are far from minor. Constitutional law expert, Professor Augusto Zimmerman of Murdoch University suggests that if Abbott had renounced his British citizenship after 1994, his legal position as a current member would be unclear. “That would require some serious consideration by a number of legal experts,” he told me over the phone.

He is more certain, however, of the broader requirements of Section 44 of the Constitution though. “Section 44 of the Constitution is very clear that for a person to stand for election, they must not hold the citizenship of any foreign power. So if a person has dual citizenship, and they have not renounced the former one, they are ineligible. It’s absolutely unequivocal,” he told Ninemsn.

constitutionThere are at least three other cases in recent history, where candidates were found to have held dual citizenship after winning their seat in federal parliament. In the case of Sue v. Hill in June 1999 the High Court decided that Ms Heather Hill was not duly elected as a senator for Queensland at the 1998 federal election because she was disqualified under section 44(i) of the Constitution. Ms Hill was a British subject and an Australian citizen at the time of her nomination.

Jackie Kelly was disqualified in 1996, because she held New Zealand citizenship in addition to being employed by the government at the time.

And, according to an article in the Tasmanian Times, Eric Abetz was the subject of a High Court challenge before the 2010 election although he was first elected to the senate in 1994. Prior to the High Court hearing he produced documents to show he had renounced his German citizenship dated 9th March 2010.

Surely Tony Abbott, who became an Australian citizen in 1981 at the age of 24, would not want to be the subject of a High Court challenge over his eligibility. All he needs to do is produce his RN form.

One can only wonder what a furore we would have witnessed if it was Julia Gillard’s citizenship we were querying. I suspect the entire future of the known universe would be in peril should it not be resolved, or at least the economic future of Australia. There would be relentless cries of ‘foul’ from the Coalition who would be screaming for her blood. Conservative shock jocks would be hysterical in their condemnation. But because it is a conservative prime minister who is under scrutiny, there is barely a ripple from the MSM.


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  1. Michael Taylor

    If he is found not to be eligible, then I’d expect him to lose his parliamentary superannuation.

  2. Ana Milosevic

    In my humble opinion Mr Taylor, if he is found not to be eligible, he should be escorted by Australian POLICE from Parliament House in the unceremonious way for being an IMPOSTER, and should be made to REFUND all the REMUNERATION he received from Australian Tax-Payers. Sorry, I just got carried away but that would be a dream come …..

  3. mark delmege

    What is really important is that Abbott and Bishop are involved in a massive coverup over the downing of MH17 and the deaths of Australians overseas. And that our national broadcaster the ABC and the federal opposition are a willing partners to this crime.

  4. mark delmege

    and I’ve heard diddly squat from any other representative in any of our parliaments

  5. stephentardrew

    Whatever the outcome we are again faced with total incompetence and the blow back by progressive media will be short and swift. The MSM will of course minimalize Abbott’s dithering. It may be the weight of overall incompetence that brings him down not necessarily a single infraction. The thing is to continue to tighten the noose but don’t live in hope that a specific infraction will bring him down. He did it with Julia now let’s see how he likes it.

  6. Carol Taylor

    Of interest. As a family historian of many years, one thing I do know is how to research via the National Archives. Migration records are but one record available to the public, and accessible online from: – go to the title The Collection. I have accessed these on numerous occasions.

    A while back, and just for curiousity’s sake as well as the fact that the debate over Tony Abbott’s dual-citizenship and Rhodes scholarship had surfaced, I accessed the migration records of the Abbott family, which as per all records similar provides names, ages and dates. All perfectly normal, yet only a few days later (and while the debate about Abbott’s eligibility for the Rhodes scholarship was in full force), these records had disappeared from the National Archives, the notation reads:

    33(1)(g) Information or matter the disclosure of which under this Act would involve the unreasonable disclosure of information relating to the personal affairs of any person (including a deceased person).

    A question. Why would an ordinary immigration record which used to be normal public access suddenly be reclassified as “unreasonable disclosure of information relating to the personal affairs” of the person?

  7. Phi

    As sure as day follows night we can expect to see a forged document in the very near future. It will unsurprisingly be dated some time prior to 1994, neatly attesting to Abbott’s renunciation of his British citizenship. The delaying tactics in the FOI refusals to date are designed to give sufficient time for the forgery to be made as foolproof as possible.

  8. Mary Chidiac

    This whole situation should be brought to a head. The Australian people need answers.. It is our right. We need proof and if not satisfied with such proof, should have any such document forensically tested, not by Australians, but independent overseas.

    Australians lets unite and call for action.
    We’re an honest nation. Let’s not allow Abbott to change that.
    Let’s all speak up.

  9. stephentardrew

    Carol: Now that is just freaky and self-incriminating.
    Dumb is as dumb does.

  10. dennis

    If that is true Carol, then something is very wrong, I would not expect a group of people in any Government to be this dishonest, if this is true then alarm bells should be ringing loud and long, what is going on with the other parties do the LNP have the nasties on every one, no one is game to say anything. If a group or party go to these lengths to become a government then you really have to become concerned about the state of a Country, this is the first time I have really become worried, I feel as though I have been violated. I don’t think it is going to be too long before I stop writing in to comments, and just keep out of it all.

  11. Kaye Lee

    Australian Constitution – Section 46 – Penalty for sitting when disqualified
    Until the Parliament otherwise provides, any person declared by this Constitution to be incapable of sitting as a senator or as a member of the House of Representatives shall, for every day on which he so sits, be liable to pay the sum of one hundred pounds to any person who sues for it in any court of competent jurisdiction.

  12. Carol Taylor

    After I had posted the comment above, I thought that I would try ‘an experiment’ and an ideal person to compare Abbott with (as regards immigration records only 👿 ) is Julia Gillard. From the National Archives, for Ms Gillard the entry is:

    07/02/1966 FAIRSKY GILLARD J O GILLARD John Oliver born 15 August 1929; Moira (nee Mackenzie) born 9 February 1928; Alison Mary born 19 November 1958; Julia Eileen born 29 September 1961; travelled per FAIRSKY departing Southampton on 7 February 1966 under the Assisted Passage Migration Scheme

    Access Open

    All perfectly normal and is identical to the one for Tony Abbott as far as information, and most definitely one that I saw a matter of days before the entry of the family of Anthony John Abbott was placed under:

    Access status: Open with exception
    Location: Sydney

    Click onto the link and it provides the reason as “unreasonable disclosure of information relating to the personal affairs” of the person. Why would something as benign as a perfectly normal immigration record suddenly become an unreasonable disclosure when it’s been on the record for decades? I have absolutely no idea why unless there are other details on the file. As noted by Tony Magrathea, Abbott’s naturalisation records are likewise missing from the NAA. Under normal circumstances these would be there for public viewing, and are there for other citizens.

    And yes I do wish that I’d had the foresight to take a Screen Shot of the record, however I suspect that it’s not the actual entry which is the problem but that anyone going into the NAA could have perused the file in its entirety prior to its reclassification.

  13. stephengb2014

    Me think it tim for leadership of Labor, the Greens, Pup to stand up and be counted

  14. Kaye Makovec

    Yep, time for Abbott to come clean. And add his own slush fund to the list 🙂
    Thanks Carol Taylor 🙂

    As the phrase by Schtarker on Laugh In went –

    “Verrrry Interesting, but schtupid.”

  15. Kaye Lee

    “The Prime Minister’s office tells us he has renounced his British citizenship. It refuses to say when. The fudging and blocking and delaying from both conservative governments, in Australia and Britain, suggest the date will be politically harmful to the Prime Minister.

    My guess is that the date he renounced British citizenship is relatively recent and will show that he wilfully, not inadvertently, stood for public office more than once while being ineligible to do so.”,6882

    Apparently there is an anti-Abbott rally on November 16. If they don’t clear this up soon it is just going to grow.

  16. Carol Taylor

    Kaye Lee, I think that as regards “refuses to say when” that “when” might be the problem…

  17. Kyran

    Just a thought. If enquiry by mere mortals sent directly to the alleged offender is being dismissed outright or rejected through his office citing FOI provisions, it may be time to rethink the enquiry. Is there provision to make enquiry of the AEC to investigate eligibility? Presumably they still have some relevance in our “democracy”.

  18. John Kelly

    Kyran, the AEC were approached for assistance in this matter but told us they do not check the details applicants submit. They rely on the honesty of the candidate.

  19. stephentardrew

    Poor Idle biddle little Tony Wony complains about the big bad media not giving him a fair go. Like the fair go you gave to Julia and the insulting farce she had to go through yesterday.
    You lying insulting scum bag after playing lovey dovey with Murdoch and vilifying all and sundry who are critical of you.
    What a narcissistic spoilt vicious dogmatist you are and now you want our fawning compliance with the budget from hell, the illegal torture of refuges, hand outs to miners, destruction of alternate energy, destruction of the biosphere and all the rest of your vile policies.
    I am just gob-smacked at the mendacity of this cruel and deceitful lying troglodyte.
    And they are his good points.

    Citizenship is just one more side dish on the table of this cruel and heartless buffoon.

  20. Kyran

    Thank you Mr Kelly. If they are relying on the “honesty of the candidate”, they clearly do not understand they are dealing with politicians, aspiring or otherwise.

  21. All's Not Lost

    I don’t think the AEC could tell us much. They are reliant on persons telling them the truth in their applications. The AEC doesn’t go about checking alleged documents that I know of. From the nomination form:

    “I am not, by virtue of section 44 of the Constitution, incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a Member of the House of Representatives.”

    You basically declare your eligibility to the AEC.

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

    Don’t think the AEC can help. or, what John Kelly said 🙂

  22. Rikda

    Let us focus on the big picture here.
    There are about 2 dozen members of parliament that were born outside of the country.

    When One Nations English born but naturalized Australian Heather Hill was elected to the senate, but had to go to NZ on personal business a few days before her Australian passport arrived (Issued the day before) she used her British passport,
    A protest was initiated about the prospect of her having duel citzenship
    HIll protested that there were others in parliament the same as her but it was ignored. This is important.
    The process of law is based on precedent. This was the ruling.

    “On 23 June 1999 the High Court of Australia, sitting in its capacity as the Court of Disputed Returns, decided in Sue v Hill that Hill’s election was invalid because, at the time of her election, she was still a citizen of the United Kingdom. The landmark case clarified for the first time that the United Kingdom was a power foreign to Australia.”

    Proof is a simple process. It may appear frivolous to some, but legally, it is as mandatory as an autopsy.

    Keep on this. there are greater risks lurking.

  23. Anne Byam

    Not sure that it’s because it’s a conservative Prime Minister, that the MSM has been quiet, but rather THIS particular Prime Minister – who has been proven to lie and lie, and lie again about so many things. He is as hard to pin down as a cheetah at full speed.

    His name is mud in so many sectors. I am waiting for the flood gates to open, because the Murdoch empire – if nothing else, will protect itself BEFORE it protects anyone else. They had enough strife in England recently over the phone hacking scandals …. I doubt Murdoch would want to face any more scandal, or particularly CONNECTION to scandal, through his recent, even years of closeness to the Abbott. There is little honor among thieves.

    However, recently the MSM have not been as quiet as one might have expected …. the Australian ( a Murdoch rag ) in particular – on many matters they have opened up about to do with this current Government, and in no way were they in favour of, or protective of this Government in their stories ….. I’m sorry I cannot get the links at this time … it would take me a good day to go through everything, including my computer history.

    Have noticed a distinct inclination towards more being said in TV news broadcasts as well. Just little hints here and there – but it’s a start. The media will always go for the throat, when they have absolute facts, and often when not so absolute …. but certainly when a lead article will grab headlines ….

    They snoop on one another prior to broadcasts etc., to see who can outdo who.

    We just need to keep on at them …. at everyone, until a crack appears and widens to a chasm. Into which the self-elevated mighty will undoubtedly fall.

    Can’t wait …….

  24. Don Winther

    If John and Kaye Lee can’t get to the bottom of this then no-one can but I know they will. Abbott is an idiot!

  25. sebastian johann

    Even more importantly, he lied on a Parliamentary document. One that specifically asks if he/she holds (dual) citizenship in another country. He might be able to get away with lying to the Australian public, but this amounts to nothing less than a fraudulent act.

  26. Don Winther

    How disappointing, guess it was too good to be true. I think I will stop calling Abbott an idiot.

  27. Annie Byam

    Have followed all the comments here. You all would have heard of Tony Magrathea ( Carol Taylor mentioned him above ) who has been tireless in his efforts to trace information about Abbott’s possible dual citizenship and that he could well still hold British citizenship. ….. Which would most likely bring him down.

    Tony Magrathea runs a blogspot … ( 2 in fact ) …… and he has detailed chronologically ( although just as a continuing article ) …. all the avenues he has searched, and the fact that a Jan Olson was successful in getting some information.

    Below is the link to the actual letter sent to Jan Olson dated 8th October 2014, signed by a Robert McMahon ( Dep’t of Prime Minister and Cabinet )…. anyway, have a read of it and note in particular the words under Reasons For Decision ” i) is in the Agency’s or Minister’s possession, but cannot be found; or .. ii) does not exist. ” …… A statement open to various interpretation. ??


    Tony Magratheas’ very long chronicle ends on a sort of positive note that he is seeking a ‘writ of mandamus’ from the British Home Office, through our own courts. …….

    I am not holding my breath on that. ………. There is plenty on the Web explaining what a mandamus is ….

    This is Tony Margratheas’ blog for the above :

    ……… If anyone is interested in pursuing it.

  28. Bubba MacLeod

    Three possible scenarios explain this matter :-

    1. (Unlikely) He renounced his UK citizenship prior to his first election to parliament in 1994 and has lawfully held office since then. He chooses to ignore requests to present documentary evidence of this renunciation for unknown reasons despite the effect this has on fomenting continued speculation that he did not renounce his UK citizenship.

    2. (Not so likely) He unlawfully entered parliament as a dual citizen and has continued to submit false applications for candidacy to the Australian Electoral Commission for subsequent elections. He refuses to present documentary evidence of this renunciation because he knows he is disqualified from office and fears the consequences of having committed a criminal offence.

    3. (Most likely) He unlawfully entered parliament as a dual citizen in 1994 and subsequently, and quietly, renounced his citizenship believing that his belated compliance was merely a technicality of no practical consequence. He refuses to present documentary evidence of this renunciation because he knows he could lose his seat for having committed a criminal offence.

    Failure of the Prime Minister to address the matter decisively can only be taken as an arrogant gesture of contempt for the Australian people as he considers himself above the law.

    Let’s bang on and on and on and on and on, until his silence is so deafening that the only logical conclusion for the public regarding the matter is that he is disqualified from sitting in parliament and has probably committed a serious federal criminal offence.

    Bang on!

  29. Kaye Lee


    That letter is dynamite. The answer isn’t open to interpretation. They searched for the document and “it does not exist”.

  30. Kaye Lee

    Now this is getting interesting….

    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? Perhaps we should follow Tony’s example and crowd source a fund for Australia vs Abbott ….after all he has shown us how.

  31. stephentardrew

    Thanks once again for your research Kaye I certainly appreciate the effort.

  32. Annie Byam

    Kaye …….. Ref the link to the ABC / Kerry O’Brien interview – 2003 with Abbott.

    Brilliant ………. 11 years does not a difference make, does it ? He’s the same shifty and cheating character now, as he was back then – but now he has polished his act even further. Lies a lot more these days.


    Agree, that letter is dynamite. Just 3 little words “does not exist” …. ‘ in writing ‘ has very obvious and hefty implications.

    Was wondering if the writer – Robert McMahon, still has his job ….. it appears he has ( according to Parliament info site ).

    Certainly, Abbott’s decency and truthfulness ‘does not exist’.

    Anyone who is so adept at telling whopping great lies to the public, wouldn’t turn a hair at ridding himself of one document into the shredder. ….. would just be a case of ‘done and dusted’ for him.

  33. Pingback: Australians for Honest Politics set for a revival? | olddogthoughts

  34. Ian S Williams (@IanSWilliams)

    But, as we, The Commonwealth of Australia, have to get Royal Assent from the Monarchy of The United Kingdom before any act becomes lawful how can The United Kingdom be a foreign power?

  35. Scott

    My guess is that Peta Credlin has a copy of the document locked in a safe place, for use when it’s “needed” most.

  36. Robert Brian

    This is really strange. The Governor General has been informed of this situation and is not replying – not even to say his office has received such correspondence. Secondly, Tim Watts, ALP MP, requested people not to pursue this matter. I responded on his Facebook: “Good on you for asking ‘birthers’ to stop hounding the PM regarding the belief that he is a dual citizen and is therefore not allowed to sit in parliament.
    The best way to have this attack stopped is to have the PM answer IN parliament that he has not had a dual citizenship SINCE HE FIRST SAT in parliament on the 26 March, 1994. The date is clearly vital to such a question. I look forward to you asking such a specific question in The House because it will help ‘birthers’ to heed your call; it will dispel doubts about the legitimacy of Abbott to be in Parliament; and it goes to your own credibility in our eyes knowing that you act on your words to have a problem – complaints about ‘birthers’ – solved.”
    The entry was deleted, so I resent it two weeks later. It was deleted again, and when I questioned his integrity he had me blocked. What is going on here?
    Thirdly, I followed the above link from Annie Byam to read the reply to the FOI ( and could only see the first page – that is, the pages Annie quotes from are missing with the message: “Whoops! There was a problem loading more pages”. This has got to be more than just unlucky coincidence!

  37. Annie B

    Computer playing up !! BUT I can still access Gmail !! ( woopee doo ) …

    In response to Robert Brian, I was actually able to access that entire letter from the link above in your post, plus what has been ADDED since I was there last ( which was a surprise ) … that being a whole heap of FAQ’s about Freedom of Information ….

    There are in fact an added 6 pages of information ( which certainly were NOT there when I first accessed that letter ) … they consist of ” FOI fact sheets 12 – and 13 ” ( 3 pages each ). I have only skimmed over them, but it seems ( from the ‘details’ (i) icon, that Tony Magarathea ‘owns’ that page or reposted part of a blog of his there, and has added the relevent information, from the Australian Government – presumably to enable anyone else interested in pursuing the abbutts’ intentions – further.

    Have another go Robert – and I hope this time you are successful. Will post it again here, just in case, and without enclosing it in brackets … different computers read different things, differently !!. ( am only hoping mine continues to ‘read’ just a few things I ask of it – at this time ). I am in the throws of trying to fix it all myself – especially internally. Browsing seems little problem – so far !!! … Facebook is 80% cactus. 🙁 … except for being able to make a few comments here and there, if it allows it – or if the ‘view comment’ link opens at all from Gmail ??.

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