Who should we trust to decide on citizenship?

Legislation will come before Parliament next week that will seek to confer upon the Minister of Immigration the right to revoke the citizenship of Australians with dual nationality who are suspected of terrorist.

Most Australians probably don’t want known terrorists living in Australia. The question is who will decide who is a terrorist and what evidence will be required. The choice is simple: the Courts or the Minister.

So the issue is who do we trust in general and possibly, on this issue?

Well we do have some idea about who Australians trust. Roy Morgan Research does a survey every few years.   The answers shed some light on the question of who we trust.

Top of the pole are nurses. A position which they’ve held for the 20 years the poll has being conducted. Australians (91% in this case) rate nurses as the most ethical and honest profession in Australia followed by Doctors (86%), Pharmacists (86%), Dentist (74%), High Court Judges (74%),

Engineers (72%), School Teachers (72%), Police (71%) and State Supreme Court Judges (70%).

Now, of this list, Nurses, Doctors, Pharmacists, Dentist, Engineers and Schoolteachers are probably not going to be well-positioned to enforce this legislation. However, High Court Judges, Supreme Court Judges and Police are. We are particularly fortunate that this group of people is regarded as being amongst the most trustworthy professions in  Australia.

And then there’s Politicians.  Ranking: 12%. Equal to Union Leaders and only ranking above Real Estate Agents, Advertising People and Used Car Salesmen.

Perhaps Tony Abbott should take a deep breath and reflect on the fact that only 12% of the population thinks that politicians are trustworthy. Yet he is sponsoring legislation that will allow a politician to take away one of the most important rights that an Australian can have: Citizenship.

This will be done without the presumption of innocence, without the accused being able to see or challenge the evidence upon which the decision is made and without the right of appeal.

We need look no further than the current crisis in Nauru to see what happens when the Executive overrides and circumvents the Courts. It is the first step towards dictatorship.

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