Australia Introduces Tougher Citizenship Laws

Australia Introduces Tougher Citizenship LawsAustralia Introduces Tougher Citizenship Laws

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Monday announced a push to toughen citizenship laws and tackle those “inciting hatred” in an attempt to target domestic extremists.

He said citizenship for dual nationals involved in terrorism could be suspended or even revoked. People born in Australia could also lose some privileges if they broke anti-terror laws, he added, BBC said in a report.

Australian officials have warned that the country faces a growing security threat from extremist groups. Dozens of Australian nationals are thought to be fighting for Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

There are concerns in Australia about the effect of returnees - and on those who support them - on domestic security.

“It has long been the case that people who fight against Australia forfeit their citizenship,” Abbott said in a speech at the federal police headquarters in the capital, Canberra.

“Australians who take up arms with terrorist groups, especially while Australian military personnel are engaged in Afghanistan and Iraq, have sided against our country. And should be treated accordingly,” he said.

  New Rule for Dual Nationals

For dual nationals, that meant revoking or suspending citizenship, Abbot said, and the government was also looking at measures targeting Australian nationals involved in terrorism.

“These could include restricting the ability to leave or return to Australia, and access to consular services overseas, as well as access to welfare payments.”

Australian authorities have cancelled 100 passports belonging to fighters in Syria and Iraq since 2010. But this does not deprive them of the right to return to Australia if they are citizens.

Abbott said new proposals would also target “hate preachers”, referring to groups that incited religious or racial hatred. “Organizations and individuals blatantly spreading discord and division should not do so with impunity,” he said.

Abbott’s announcement came a day after a report into December’s Sydney cafe siege was released. Two hostages were killed when self-styled cleric seized control of the Lindt cafe.

No direct links have been found between the gunman - who was killed when police stormed the cafe - and IS.