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The Turnbull Solution: “MPs must make a declaration that the declaration that they made wasn’t an untrue declaration!”

Some things keep happening, but unfortunately the media likes to treat everything as though it’s an event in itself and that there are no patterns emerging here. For example, whenever there’s a mass shooting in America, politicians will tell us that this is not the time to talk about gun control and attempts to politicise this tragedy are shameful. Of course, nobody in the media asks Donald Trump after the New York terrorist attack why he immediately chose to “politicise” it by mentioning border control. Surely, that wasn’t the time to talk about such things.

However, Malcolm’s muddlers have reached such consistency with their strategies for handling things that even the media are starting to notice. In case you haven’t been paying attention or have been on another planet, it goes something like this:

First Phase: Either “People who see a problem here are just trouble-makers” and/or “There is a slight problem but it was caused by Labor and we’re dealing with it.”

Second Phase: “Look, it’s a real mess and it’s definitely Labor’s fault and we can’t fix it overnight.”

Third Phase: “There’s no need to do that, because what we’re doing is enough and everything will be all right now”

Fourth Phase: “We’ve appointed someone to look into it and we’ll have a report from them soon and there’s no need to take action right now” or “We’re going to do the following and, no, that isn’t what Labor suggested because what Labor suggested would be costly and unnecessary but this is simpler and more efficient and let’s talk about something else. Something positive. Why are you concentrating on this instead of writing about what low-life Bill Shorten is?”

And so, just a couple of weeks after Malcolm solved the energy problem by announcing that they were going to make it the responsibility of suppliers to ensure that we all had adequate power, more cheaply, while meeting emissions targets, he solves the citizenship problem by announcing that all MPs will need to declare that they have no other citizenship rights. This isn’t an audit, of course, Labor suggested an audit. MPs will have to produce supporting documentation. What exactly, I’m not sure. I mean, will a note from mum be enough?

Whatever, I can’t help but think that John Alexander’s recent announcement, hot on the heels of Senator Parry’s resignation, has moved the whole genre from farce to absurdism.


“Excuse me, but I’ve just realised that my father is British too!”
“Didn’t you know that before?”
“Yes, well, I did, but I didn’t realise that the rules would apply to all members of Parliament. I thought well, that… um. Anyway, I’ve got nothing to worry about, but I’ll do some checking but I’m sure that I have no problems.”
“What makes you so sure?”
“Well, it’d just be silly, wouldn’t it? I was born in Australia!”
“So were a number of people whom the High Court ruled ineligible.”
“Yeah, but I’m sure that my father would have renounced his British citizenship when he took out Australian citizenship even though he didn’t need to. He would have done it to ensure that his children weren’t entitled to a British passport or a working visa if they ever went to Britain.”


Yep, that sounds totally plausible. I’m just waiting for Mr Turnbull to say that he has legal advice that the High Court will rule differently this time.

Next week the results of the marriage survey will be announced. As this is Cup Day, I’m putting up the odds of what will happening.

YES win followed by nothing much happening because “We need to work out the legislation and to ensure that the rights of various religions are protected” – Evens

YES win followed by various excuses from the NO campaign and nothing happening this year, because the “confusion around citizenship needs to be sorted out before we can pass such significant legislation” – 2-1
Computer malfunction at the ABS delaying the result until 2018 – 3-1

YES win by a small margin followed by the government delaying change in law because the result wasn’t clear enough.

NO win followed by some confusion about how the ABS calculated the result – 8-1

NO win followed by people wishing to marry someone of the same sex deciding that they don’t need the right to marry any longer – 500-1

YES win followed by legislation being introduced without delay and everyone agreeing to simply accept the people’s verdict allowing the legislation to pass before the end of the year – 1000-1


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  1. kerri

    This is how small government operates. You tell private industries and citizens how everything is going to happen from now on and it’s all fixed!
    Turnbull in confusing the Prime Ministership with being King! Exciting times.

  2. Peter F

    Of course, there is absolutely NO chance that the High Court would be consistent in it’s interpretation of the Constitution.

    From now on we can rest assured that all we need is for our politicians to say that they have checked by asking their parents, and all will be well. Why didn’t those who wrote the Constitution think of this simple solution?

  3. Möbius Ecko

    “This isn’t an audit, of course, Labor suggested an audit.”

    umm… Labor never suggested an audit, the Greens did. Labor suggested along the lines of what Turnbull is now putting forward, but Labor didn’t suggest all the get out of jail for free clauses Turnbull has put into his declaration. I guess Turnbull can offer that as a point of difference.

    By the way, surprisingly several media outlets reported Turnbull’s declaration option as following Labor.

  4. GrumpyT

    Oh what a tangled web we weave. I would like to work on my weaving and ask a question about the issue of citizenship and hope that some legal eagle out there can give me an answer. What is the situation for someone who is adopted? Are they to take into account their birth parents (if they know who they are) or of their adopted parents? It challenges this bear of little brain, even though it is not important.

  5. Frank Smith

    We voters need to know when we vote that ALL candidates are Australian citizens otherwise our vote may be useless or preferences totally upset. All candidates need to have a rigorous check like Labor when they nominate, not after they have been elected.

  6. diannaart


    the people,




    Or some really powerful drugs…

  7. wam

    The parliament can pass a retrospective to 2015 law denoting no foreign government can decide a person born in australia is a citizen of such a government. Citizenship can only be made by the australians themselves or maybe canavan’s mum.

    Simple conclusion no exceptions. Problem disapears and the judges ruling negated

  8. auntyuta

    I inserted a link to this blog into my post from today. I have to point out, that the headline to this blog amused me no end. For instance occasionally I am made to declare what my German mother’s maiden name is. Luckily, so far I could always still remember it. It helps, when you know a bit about your ancestry. In case you cannot remember everything, it helps when you have a few documents to rely upon!

  9. Peter F

    wam – the judges ruling, being a proper reading of the law, is what has brought this failure on the part of our elected representatives to a head. Simply, they signed an application claiming to have checked their status when they had NOT done so. The judges’ ruling stands. That is our law.

  10. Möbius Ecko

    I want it noted, and I wish the media would highlight that all these calls being made by mostly those on the right to have the constitution changed, only did so when the first L-NP member fell foul of Section 44. When two Greens were found to be possibly in breach, they were sloppy and there was nothing wrong with the law.

  11. Aortic

    After the publication of the so called Paradise Papers does anyone truly believe Western governments have anything but a token and servile say in the running of things. Corporations and spivs rule the world as First Dog on the Moon says ” Greedy swine are using tax loopholes to offshore billions. Also cows go moo.”

  12. Glenn Barry

    Are we headed towards the oxymoronic paradox of LNP parliamentarians using the defence of an honest mistake in their pleadings to the high court?

    We seem to be still mired in the concept that if the answer was wrong then the actual fault originated with the question

  13. wam

    peter F
    There is no doubt, in my mind, about the loonies,robertson and cavanan, as I thought canavan had applied for dual citizenship, were gone by birth or application.

    Assuming there is no question of loyalty, the ruling relies on paternal succession as dictated by a foreign government that affords rights which MAY be taken up.

    Clearly joyce, nash and the lnp ninnies have not applied for citizenship.

    (Frydenberg was in similar trouble till the conditions of re-instating hungarian citizenship required his mother to seek citizenship.)

    If our parliament decreed that foreign government laws do not affect an Australian born citizen. The law should be back dated and the eminent judges are freed from their understanding of letters.

    But, and this is my convoluted point, should they undertake such an action it would legitimise unwanted Australians and their families?

    Candidates who have any doubts about their eligibility, by virtue of
    section 44 of the Constitution, are advised to obtain their own legal
    advice. ie from the attorney general??

    You must sign a declaration on the nomination
    form that you:
    ■ are an Australian citizen;
    ■ are at least 18 years of age;
    ■ are an elector or qualified to be an elector;
    ■ are qualified to be elected under the
    Constitution and other laws of the
    ■ are not, and do not intend to be, a candidate
    in any other Commonwealth election on the
    same day; and
    ■ consent to act if elected.

    QED born overseas IE DOUBT
    Born here never sought a foreign passport ie NO DOUBT
    The arrogance of judges know few bounds???

  14. Peter F

    Our politicians are quite correctly loath to make retrospective changes to law.

  15. Nadine

    Peter F
    “Our politicians are quite correctly loath to make retrospective changes to law” You forgot to add “…unless it suits their agenda.”
    Due to my partner being UK born, our children are entitled to the benefits afforded British citizens. This information is very easy to determine, even for those of us not planning to go into politics. There is no excuse for those politicians who have fallen foul of Section 44 of the Constitution. We all know where our parents were born. I am waiting for more ‘dual citizen pollies’ to come out of the woodwork. John Alexander’s delay in fessing up suggests a lack of either intelligence or integrity.

  16. Denis Bright in Brisbane

    The Turnbull Solution on Citizenship is a decree from our National Emperor. Will the Presidential successors of the Emperor be so confident and articulate with their born to rule rhetoric.

  17. Rat

    If I were a gambling man, I’d put my money on a YES win followed by nothing much happening, with multiple Tory MPs stumbling over each other to give contradictory excuses including “we need to work out the legislation and to ensure that the rights of various religions are protected”, “confusion around citizenship needs to be sorted out before we can pass such significant legislation”, “the result wasn’t clear enough” and of course, somehow, “It’s Labor’s fault”.

  18. Möbius Ecko

    Rat. On the money, as we see that around a dozen or more of the L-NP right, the chocolate cake set, are about to release and alternate to the bill WA Liberal Senator Dean Smith is proposing and the one Turnbull said he would adopt:

    Conservative MPs believe up to 100 amendments are needed to a same-sex marriage Bill being proposed if the Yes vote succeeds, posing a major test for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as he seeks to manage an emerging partyroom split.

    Those amendments have nothing to do with marriage equality and are being introduced to further delay the inevitable and/or to make Turnbull’s position untenable as a precursor to a spill.

    It wasn’t long ago that Turnbull said this:

    The Prime Minister again said he would vote yes in the survey and declared a bill to legalise same-sex marriage would “sail through Parliament” if most Australians backed the change.

    Just one more statement Turnbull got completely wrong to add to the long and growing list of things he gets wrong.

  19. jimhaz

    I also agree with Rat – but this would be MT’s big opportunity to make a stand against the insane right….and perhaps that is why he is looking for his plan as a timeframe/ultimatum for the citizenship fiasco and acting lately as if he was a far right dude all along with his adoption of the attack dog modus operandi.

  20. diannaart

    Agree with Rat, Möbius Ecko and JimHaz (not too often I can say that, Jim)

    Will Turnbull reveal he actually has a spine which he has been keeping from us for the past 4 years?


    Will the League Of Objectionable Religious Regressives win out with their delay tactics until 2018.

    2018 – while the LNP continues to devour itself from within, there is a distinct possibility that Labor will do a ‘stevenbradbury’ and win the federal election and actually achieve equal rights for the LBGQTIA community – wondering what will have happened to the people detained on Manus Island while Aussie politics continues its focus upon itself?

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