Dual citizenship breaches known for decades

Bob Hawke when Prime Minister, with Treasurer Paul Keating

Canberra politicians have known about dual citizenship breaches for 30 years

Federal Parliament and the main political parties, Labor, Liberal, National and Australian Democrats, have known about the disqualification facing MPs with dual nationality for 30 years.

George V Turner, a barrister with pedantic knowledge of constitutional law, sounded the warning in individual letters to Prime Minister Bob Hawke, Liberal leader Andrew Peacock, Nationals leader Charles Blunt, Attorney-General Lionel Bowen, Senator John Button, Justice Minister Michael Tate, Liberal Senator Fred Chaney, Nationals Senator John Stone and Democrats leader, Senator Janine Haines.

He also sent his devastating legal opinion to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Governor-General asking for the constitutional requirements to be enforced.

The release of Turner’s letter – sent to me by a reader who was sick of the political humbug from Canberra – clearly states the Constitution’s position:

“Section 44 (i) states: ‘Any person who is under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or a citizen of a foreign power shall be incapable to being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.”

Turner first wrote to Federal Parliament on 28 August 1988 but he was met by “non-action”.

Immigration Minister Robert Ray was questioned about the existence of dual nationality MPs in the Senate on 16 February 1988:

“I ask honourable senators not to hold me to these figures but there are approximately 10 members of the Australian Labor Party who would come into that category of British subject and I believe there are three members on the Liberal side.”

Senator Chris Puplick, a NSW Liberal, acknowledged the existence of constitutional breaches when he said: “There are as many senators sitting on this side of the chamber who potentially are at risk … as there are on the Government side of the chamber. You, Mr President, would be as acutely aware of that problem as I am.” (Senate President at that time was Sussex Street shifty Kerry Sibraa from Sydney.)

Quit with dignity

Senator John Stone

Senator Stone, the former head of Treasury and a maverick right winger, told senators caught in the citizenship minefield: “The proper course is, first, to make a clean breast of it; to go to you, Mr President, or perhaps to the Minister, or both, and to point out, as soon as he became aware of this deficiency in his election. Secondly, I think, the honourable course for a person in such circumstances is to ask himself – not to wait for the Government – whether the matter should be considered by the Court of Disputed Returns [High Court] so that the matter can be adjudicated upon and decided. Thirdly, he should offer to stand aside while that process proceed and is concluded.”

When the High Court decided to remove Senator Robert Wood of the Nuclear Disarmament Party (NDP) from the Senate in 1988 because of his dual British nationality, Turner called for an audit of all MPs to remove any that were in breach of the constitution.

When nothing happened, Turner wrote angrily: “The seriousness of this can never be justified to the Australian people. The seriousness of this matter is such that Watergate, in comparison, appears as a nursery story.

“If the Government and the Opposition can succeed in ignoring or suppressing the application of a section of the Australian Constitution, then upon that precedent, the Constitution becomes the instrument of the Government to use how it likes. From such a result develops a dictatorship.”

Well, despite Turner’s grim warning 30 years ago, all parties in the Federal Parliament are caught in a constitutional minefield in which the survival of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s Coalition Government is at stake.

When MPs are elected by fraud, the illegality doesn’t only tarnish them. Parliament itself is corrupted and voters lose faith in the parliamentary system. Who can blame them?

The RatPac scandal

The appalling Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein has become the target of a global hate campaign. One Tweeter said his trial for rape – when he is charged – should be transferred to a US State where convicted rapists are executed or, alternatively, California’s opposition to capital punishment should be suspended in his case.

While the global media is focusing on Weinstein, a major Democratic Party donor, bigtime Hillary Clinton supporter and a generous contributor to apartheid Israel, there are very few references to his fellow sexual predator Brett Ratner whose record is even worse.

James Packer, right, with Brett Ratner

The Australian mainstream media has been conspicuously silent about Ratner’s friendship with James Packer, Kerry’s son and one of the shining products of a private education at Cranbrook. (School motto: Esse Quam Videri – To be, rather than seem to be.)

For the record, Ratner’s alleged crimes include rape and dozens of reports of sexual harassment. Seven women, including actresses and journalists, have publicly declared their shameful treatment at the hands of Ratner. After one of his victims, Olivia Munn, went public with allegations that Ratner masturbated in front of her, he strongly objected to the charge saying: “I banged her a few times, but I forgot her.” Charming.

“The Rat” hooked up Packer with ageing songbird Mariah Carey as well as to Israeli powerbrokers such as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and film hustler Arnon Milchan. He formed a film production company called RatPac Entertainment with Packer. The company’s name is an abbreviation of their surnames – Ratner and Packer.

Ratner’s current co-chairman is Danny Cohen, a former executive at Britain’s BBC, who spends his social media chat time claiming Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party is riddled with “anti-Semitism”.

The former student of the Rabbi Alexander S Gross Hebrew Academy in Florida and the Alexander Muss High School in Israel, Ratner received in January a gold star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his “contributions to the motion picture industry”.

After copping a US$100 million loss at RatPac, Packer left the organisation taking the tax loss with him. “Brett is a force of nature,” Packer told The Australian in October. “Our relationship is OK. Let’s just say I did more for Brett than he did for me.”

Packer’s relationship with Mariah Carey is frostier. Since breaking up with the singer on the eve of their planned wedding, he has settled her legal action with a payment of US$30 million plus handing over a US$10 million engagement ring.

Earlier this year when she was asked where her ex-fiancé was, she replied: “I don’t know where the motherfucker is.”

Packer’s weirdness

On May 25 this year I asked the same question – but far more politely – when I wrote in my Weekly Notebook: “But where is the billionaire son of Kerry Packer? He hasn’t been seen or heard for weeks.”

In his mysterious absence, much of his gambling and inherited empire was sold off by an executive cabal who appeared to be running the show: “While out of the limelight, his empire is being stripped in what seems like a fire sale. So why the dash for cash? And where is James Packer?” I asked.

In October, in a lengthy interview prior to the AGM of his listed Crown casino group, Packer threw partial light on his strange disappearance. The 50-year-old revealed he had taken 17 months off from the Crown board to live in the seclusion of Ellerstina, a luxury polo ranch 100 kilometres outside Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina.

Was he under treatment and, if so, for what? We weren’t told. Nor were we told about his strange relationship with Netanyahu’s regime in Israel, his decision to become an Israeli national so that he could win a casino licence in his new “home” and his spectacular downfall in Macau after senior executives were arrested by mainland China anti-corruption police.

“Anyone who says I live a weird life doesn’t know me and hasn’t spent time with me,” he said snottily. “I am the furthest thing from a playboy there is.”

The fact that he doesn’t know that he is weird is the weirdest thing of all. Once an avowed Scientologist, he clearly needs help. You get the feeling that all this won’t end well.

A real Israeli hero

He has a reputation as “the most hated Jew in Israel”. No, it isn’t any of the corrupt politicians in the far-right Likud Coalition regime.

His name is Gideon Levy, celebrated columnist of the daily Ha’aretz newspaper and the country’s most outspoken critic of human rights violations against Palestinians.

Gideon Levy of Ha’aretz

Levy is in Australia to deliver Sydney University’s Edward Said Lecture, named after the acclaimed Palestinian writer, teacher and scholar. In an ABC-TV interview he deplored apathy and indifference and said his responsibility was “to put a mirror in front of Israeli society which really denies, lives in denial, in terrible denial”.

If Levy thinks that “living in denial” is widespread in Israeli society, he should take a look at Jewish society in Sydney and Melbourne where the condition is at plague levels.

He described “the huge elephant in the room” as the 50-year military occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. “We don’t look at this elephant,” he said. “And we think that if we will not look at this elephant, the elephant will disappear.”

Levy explained that he had grown up in Tel Aviv believing all that he was told at school and by the media. “I thought that we were always right, the Arabs are always wrong. They were born to kill, they want to kick us to the ocean, we are the David, they are the Goliath. I was part of it until I went there and week after week I realised that what is happening there is a crime.

“One people, tyranting another people in a brutal and inhuman way. You can’t remain indifferent to this. I can assure you, if you would have witnessed what I witnessesed in the last 30 years, you would have come to very same political conclusions.”

Regrettably, many Australian Jews are “indifferent” to the ongoing human rights crimes.

Describing himself as a genuine Israeli patriot who is “pro-justice”, Levy supported a single state solution of “one person, one vote, one state”.

In a separate interview, he said Israel’s far right coalition had created the legal framework for an apartheid state with Israelis in the box seat and Palestinians in society’s margins.

It was the first time that I have heard a Jew acknowledge the apartheid character of the Israeli regime. The tide is definitely turning …

Headline of the Week

12% of young people have never seen a cow

  • London Telegraph

Quote of the Month

What is needed [in England] is a conscious open revolt by ordinary people against inefficiency, class privilege and the rule of the old. Right through our national life we have got to fight against privilege, against the notion that a half-witted public schoolboy is better for command than an intelligent mechanic.

  • ­George Orwell, 1903-1950

One comment

  1. Hi Alex,

    A great read as always.
    The Orwell quote really resonates, and says a lot about our current political and social travails.
    Should be engraved in stone at the entrances to our increasingly bereft halls of politics and commerce.

    Noel

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