What is the bloody point of being Australian?

Matt Canavan has to go. He’s a foreign national in the parliament. Via the AFR:

Matt Canavan “automatically” became an Italian citizen because of his blood ties, says a specialist migration lawyer.

Melbourne lawyer Joseph Italiano, a former member of the Immigration Review Tribunal, said under Italian law a person has a blood right known as jus sanguinis to Italian citizenship.

In the eyes of Italian law, this effectively means citizenship is passed on from one generation to the next until it is formally renounced, even when Italian authorities may not have records of a person’s birth.

“To me it’s indisputable that Mr Canavan is an Italian citizen and he has taken no steps to renounce it,” Mr Italiano said.

“Mr Canavan is a citizen by blood. He doesn’t have to make an application for anything. If it is not severed it goes on continuously to successive generations.

“Whether you want it or not is immaterial.”

This principle has never been more vital. As Australia’s people links to foreign powers expand, the risk of a dual national that does not have Australia’s best interests at heart (versus some other country) making decisions in the parliament grows.

Many foreign powers – some of which with whom Australia has highly-charged relationships – officially claim their diasporas based upon ethnicity alone. Nationality is at least one half-decent screen to ensure the right loyalties are in place in the leadership.

Canavan has to go.

But that is only the tip of the iceberg today. The press reaction to this has suddenly spilled over into the wider immigration debate. From immigration extremist Peter Martin:

Australia is overwhelmingly foreign. Half of us were either born overseas or have an overseas-born parent. Many, many more (like the Coalition’s unfortunate Matt Canavan) have at least one overseas-born grandparent.

A section of the Constitution that prevents an Australian being elected to the Australian Parliament because they happen to also be a “citizen of a foreign power” makes no sense given the number of forgotten foreign passports lying unused in sock drawers.

It ought to be enough that you’ve been declared Australian, made to pay Australian taxes and forced to vote.

…Yet, by quite a huge margin, we dislike immigration…Central to these concerns are crowded cities, and jobs.

Inside Story’s Tim Colebatch finds that between 2008 and 2016 Australia’s labour market created an extra 474,000 full-time jobs. But only 74,000 went to people born in Australia. The bulk (400,000) went to migrants. Around 364,000 went to migrants who had arrived here since 2001.

You’d be forgiven for thinking these migrants had elbowed longer-term locals to get the extra jobs, and you would be right. But that’s only part of the story; the part we can see. The part we can’t see is where those extra jobs came from.

Most came from migration.

Calculations unveiled by Professor Peter McDonald at last week’s Melbourne Institute economic outlook conference suggest that, without migration, total employment would have grown by just 126,000 between 2011 and 2016. With migration, it grew 739,000.

Migrants create jobs because they spend (often spending more than they earn at first if they brought money with them) and borrow to buy houses.

Professor Peter MacDonald is one very confused puppy. Arguing precisely the opposite a few years earlier, as we know, which only goes to show that you can pretty much argue anything using a garbage model to meet fashion trends.

Anyway, Peter Martin himself puts his finger on the problem. It’s not just about jobs, it’s about what kinds of jobs and for whom. Do we need to boost an economic model that increases consumer spending and demand for houses? No, we do not.

That way lies a forever war on existing Australian youth and working classes (migrants included!) delivering lower wages for entry level and lower paid jobs, lower amenity in public goods (especially in over-crowded areas earmarked for sardine-stuffing where the plebs live) and higher assets prices. It’s a recipe for rabid class war on Australia’s most vulnerable classes.

Rather, what we need is greater investment in the productive economy to boost income growth and policies aimed at improving competitiveness to ensure it keeps coming. This is not even remotely controversial. It is economics 101. Especially so in a post-mining boom economy that is priced-out on tradables up the wazoo.

Yet we live the failure to confront this reality every day. House prices torture youth. Wages fall. Cities choke. We are running out of ambulances, roads, rail, planes, schools, hospital beds, houses, water etc. We won’t meet Paris climate targets. Environmental groups howl at natural habitat destruction. It has paralysed monetary and fiscal policy, generated corruption scandal after corruption scandal in the parliament, and turned us into a joke of a strategic ally, hopelessly strung up between economic and strategic well-being, as well as between democracy and communism represented in the great powers of our time.

In this economic model, where is the point of being an Australian if you are not super wealthy and live in your virtual gated city in Sydney’s east where none of this transpires. If you believe Australia is intrinsically about the fair go, the corollary is that there is no point of “Australia” at all. No matter where you are from!!!

Let me offer one final insight into the post-modern crazies that are now running this debate. Yesterday, LVO politely took Tom Westlakeland to the woodshed for penning in The Guardian the usual allegations of racism for anyone that suggests immigration should be cut. Westlakeland is some unknown fellow with extreme views on nationhood and immigration, in his own words:

It is a matter of moral preference whether you think that Australia’s stocks of clean air and clean water (and its stock of high-quality infrastructure, for that matter, much of it built and paid for by people who are now dead)—like our stocks of iron ore and coking coal—are the property of existing citizens by right or whether you think that the unequal division of resources among the peoples of the world is largely arbitrary and often the result of historical patterns of state violence and conquest. If you believe the latter, as I do, then barring immigrants from enjoying these stocks of natural and infrastructural wealth, even at the cost of their partial degradation, is hard to justify morally.

Good luck to The Guardian for publishing fringe views. Yet when I contacted the paper to a suggest that LVO deserves the right of reply in the paper there was nothing but complete silence, despite his pedigree as a free-thinking former Australian and Victorian Treasury economist. Such one-sided thinking is a complete violation of the “liberal ” values of the Scott Trust (which I admire greatly) that underpins The Guardian. Moreover, it undermines what Australia is supposed to be about: a country, a democracy, an entity that looks after those that live here within a global community, most especially its youth.

There is only one set of fruit loops in the Australian immigration debate and it ain’t those calling for a halving of the intake to historical norms to protect living standards.

David Llewellyn-Smith
Latest posts by David Llewellyn-Smith (see all)


  1. I’ve started my own country called Andronia. You are a citizen by birth or by owning an investment property in Australia.

    • To be a citizen of Ancient Rome (or Italy), you had to be a landowner (and a male). Quite like Andronia.

      Everything old is new again…!

      • proofreadersMEMBER

        In deference to reusa and his beautiful IP-owning relatives, shouldn’t Straya be renamed Reusaland?

      • Well, it’s difficult, because it’s either Reusaland or Reustralia. There are good arguments for each option and respected academics lining up on either side. We should probably have a referendum on that.

        That would be an allowable exercise of democracy. (We can’t have a referendum on migration numbers or anything like that. That’s for grown ups to decide.)

    • Well well well. If it isn’t my ancient adversary, Andronia. No doubt here to drum up business for your country. Well I am the empyryr of Androgynia. Like your nation we grant automatic citizenship to any human born. Unlike you though, we don’t have a ‘gender’ field on our birth certificates. Clearly we are the more diverse nation, one filled with awkward conversations and awkward questions.

      • Androgynian scum. Our birth registration forms have more gender options than Facebook.

    • You can put Reusa in charge of public relations. Of which he has many fabulous ones.

    • sirdrabMEMBER

      I prefer Paraguay. If you park 5k US in the central bank, the government grants you permanent residency (I think they only let Westerners in though).

    • Are we not just about to open a high volume metro station here? Im all for councillors representing their community, but the character here they are protecting here is elitism. I remember when this area was mostly abandoned orchards and bush in the early 80’s. What bollocks.

  2. mild colonial

    Even if you hold Mr Westlandia’s views about one world, you come at it from a pro equality philosophy and, given that, you have to be able to see that our model is built for profiteering by a minority, (not to mention many other faults). Does he call himself an economist? If he wants fairness he should be arguing for a lottery, if we acknowledge that it’s a profit making business let’s start selling citizenship on eBay, if it’s one world, close the home department down and no need to issue passports.

  3. Based on Westlund’s logic. The 70 million Indian males with no marriage prospects are entitled to come into his house and partake in his wife’s patootie. In the name of equality.

    • mild colonial

      Wives aren’t property for sharing, they have agency, and they’ve publicly declared they’re not sharing their patootie by getting married.

      • You are a closed-minded savage. That statement is disrespectful of all the wonderful cultures that accept non-monogamous relationships. And the ones that treat women as property.

        Don’t worry. You will be reeducated once we have 3-4million migrants from each of those cultures scattered around the main population centres in Australia.

        The right to patootie-sharing will also then be enshrined in law way before same-sex-fucking-marriage.

      • It might surprise you to know how much poly-amory and cuckholdry are the latest trend among progressive types.

      • Joel,

        Yes I know what you mean. By the way jokes about Parrot Love don’t go down well with the practitioners.

    • By Mr. Westicles’ logic we should simply aggregate the worlds’ wealth and divide it equally among the ~7 billion. Nice sentiment, but good luck with that…

    • It is no coincidence that post-modernism has become so strongly correlated with cuckoldry fetishists.

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        I have been a little irked, by my investigations into this internet porn thing, with this “cuckold” stuff seeming to be very prevalent.
        Is this really a “thing” couples are into?,…Post modernism you say.

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        I have been a little irked, by my investigations into this internet porn thing, with this “cuckold” stuff seeming to be very prevalent.

        Thanks to algorithms, your internet porn experience tends to very quickly become aligned with your tastes, Ermo.

    • casewithscience

      I was reading your comment right after the thread on patootie sharing above and spat out my morning coffee.

  4. Winston Churchill refused the monarch’s offer of a Dukedom after the war… because that would’ve prevented his son from being able to be elected into the House of Commons (under the rules at the time).

    Canavan wants to argue the toss at the high court, however.

    Illustrates quite nicely that we are stuck with a rather different calibre of politician in modern Australia….

    • First comes Dog, then country … and somewhere down the chain is self. Unless you are an LNP politician (or all politicians?). Where it is self, self, self, party is in there somewhere and it ends about there.

    • It was Tony Benn who fought for the right to be re-elected after resigning his peerage. But, As somebody previously pointed out, all Australian Jews are automatically citizens of Israel. Israeli citizenship can presumably be renounced, but some countries do not have any mechanism for renouncing your citizenship. If North Korea passed a law making all Australian politicians citizens of North Korea, they would all have to resign tomorrow. The rule is hopelessly anachronistic and these resignations are becoming more and more Python-esque. They should just make every MP and Senator foreswear allegiance to any foreign power when they enter Parliament. Let me add that Winston Churchill greatly deserved the title of Duke of London and it is a travesty that he had to refuse it for such a silly reason.

      • Deserved the honour, yes.

        “Constitution”^ is a silly reason? No.

        He is so much greater the man for having refused, rather than asking for the constitution to be changed (which probably would have been done, if he had asked).

        ^in the sense that it exists in the U.K….

      • You only have to take reasonable steps. If North Korea tried making everyone citizens tomorrow, the pollies could easily renounce publicly.

        The reality is though, citizenship is part of tribalism. No tribe tries to be the tribe for everyone. Thats the whole point. There won’t be a nation on the planet that wants to be that inclusive.

      • Peachy, I think the story is a bit more complicated. He refused the Dukedom in 1946 because he himself wanted to become Prime Minister again in 1950. He asked his son’s opinion and his son agreed, because of his own political aspirations. By the time he finally retired as Prime Minister in 1955, Dukedoms and hereditary titles had fallen out of public favor. It is believed that he was instead offered a life peerage as an Earl, which he refused because he thought it was an insult to be offered just the same as what most other retired PM’s are offered (thankfully, not Tony Blair, as yet).

  5. scootytootyMEMBER

    SJW’s everywhere will be so torn that a politician has to step down just because he had a bit of culture, but he is also one of the crew that is trying to get adani’s crap mine going.

  6. StomperMEMBER


    Matt Canavan and Mum became Italian citizens at same time his dad stole $1.6m from Nestlé (convicted) @albericie



    Managers milked Nestle of $1.6m
    Mark Oberhardt, CourierMail
    May 22, 2007 12:00am
    TWO accounts managers were entrusted to guard against fraud at one of the world’s biggest companies but instead stole nearly $1.6 million.
    Prosecutor Julie Alyward told the District Court in Brisbane today, Bryan Michael Canavan and Phillip Michael Gardiner held senior postions with Nestle Australia Ltd but during a 3 1/2 years period stole cash and property for no other motive than “greed“.

    Canavan was a senior accounts manager and Gardiner an accounts manager in Nestle beverage and confection division.

    She said the men were in positions designed to safeguard against fraud but they used their knowledge to circumvent those safeguards.

    Mrs Aylward said the pair stole cash by recruiting a third party _ a businessman who had several stores in provincial Queensland _ and paid money into various accounts controlled by him. It was then split three ways.

    She said the men also fraudulently acquired a large amount of property _ such as retail store gift vouchers, Australia Post cash orders, and hardware _ to which they were not entitled.

    Both men bought real estate and used money they had fraudulently gained to upgrade the properties with landscaping, refurbishing, etc.

    Mrs Aylward said Canavan bought and sold six properties and Gardiner four.

    She said while the men repaid all but $30,000 of the money and had no previous convictions, the crown was asking for a strong deterrent sentence.

    “They were in effect the last line of defence against fraud but betrayed that trust,“ she added.

    Canavan, 46, and Gardiner, 41, pleaded guilty to dishonestly applying to their own use $703, 984 belonging to Nestle Australia Ltd between January 1, 2001 and May 26, 2004.

    They also pleaded guilty to dishonestly obtaining property to the value of $875,668 between May 1, 2002 and May 26, 2004.

    Peter Callaghan SC, for Canavan, said his client had “reinvented“ himself in the real estate industry after he was charged and had shown he was well on the way to rehabilitation.

    He said Canavan made admissions to police when interviewed and had done everything possible to repay the money.

    Solicitor Andrew Boe, for Gardiner, said there was evidence his client was remorseful and had led a previously blameless life.

    Judge Michael Rackemann will pass sentence on Canavan and Gardiner, who have been held on remand since January, at a resumed hearing tomorrow.

    • GunnamattaMEMBER

      Peter Callaghan SC, for Canavan, said his client had “reinvented“ himself in the real estate industry after he was charged and had shown he was well on the way to rehabilitation.

      well that wins me over…..

      • Laundering stolen money through Australian property. It’s the thing to do. Canavan Snr should be acknowledged as a trailblazer – he was doing it more than a decade ago, way way way before it became the Indian and Chinese national sport!

        He basically created the concept of our great export industry. He deserves an Order of Australia and the quashing of the conviction.

      • Wow so Canavan Snr is arrested and charged for defrauding his employer of hundreds of thousands of dollars and using the proceeds to buy realestate. While on bail awaiting sentencing he is “reinventing” himself as a real estate agent…and this is a mitigating circumstance?
        One of your best Pete
        FYI “Judge Rackemann sentenced the men to seven-and-a-half years’ jail but ordered they be considered eligible for parole on November 17, 2008 – taking into account the 126 days they have already served”

    • billygoatMEMBER

      Ha Ha
      What more is there to say…he rehabbed himeself in real estate. Job well done.

  7. GunnamattaMEMBER

    Westlake and Jess irvine and the like are the Bashi Bazouks – just there to distract and inflame things

    But Martin is laying the basis for something entirely different.

    If we are not excluding those with access to being foreign nationals, at what point do we ask them to ensure their efforts are on behalf of Australia, and at what point can we really believe them? Plenty of these people would, if we let them, run something like the line that simply running for parliament (or standing if you prefer) is an act of national commitment, and that if they have a foot on the possibility of being able to work, retire or live (or seek medical care, or educate their kids) somewhere else then good luck to them.

    It is also a nice line to run if you want funding for our politics and politicians to continue from offshore – If a third of us are born offshore then why wouldnt we have a third of parliament comprised of foreign born politicians, or why wouldnt a third of their funding be from offshore? ……..indeed when you think about if enough of us are running that line then maybe we are part of a ‘global economy and it doesnt matter if we dont have manufacturing or export competitive industries because they are somewhere offshore and because we are ‘global citizens’ of a sort, and can continue setting ourselves up to be the global aged care facility staffed by low paid part timers.

    The politicians dont want this issue arising right now, precisely because they know that it is central to the high immigration agenda they run. Of course they all like to think of themselves as part of an elite too – an extra passport can get their kids into something (nice) offshore for a while, and it can be handy to take a break from the glare of public scrutiny somewhere where you are unknown (just ask some of the Operation Foxhunt targets slipping in here) and the foothills of Tuscany already have a resident Australian ex-politicians fraternity.

    That Peter Martin line – that there is something archaic about S44 and that we need to overturn it – should only be opened up along with the question of foreign political campaign funding, money laundering legislative compliance, and national economic narrative.

    Personally i hope the argument simmers on for another year (into the leadup for the next election).

    Mark Kenny (also at Domainfax) has the real answer

    Drain the swamp: Time for a full audit of who is and is not eligible to sit in Parliament

    Every last person in parliament should be vetted before they are allowed to take a seat, their spending should be monitored in real time, and their use of entitlements should be trackable in real time too, along with all funding and donations/contributions and loans. And their access to political pensions should be voted on (after they retire) by people in the seats or States they have represented.

    • I have been trying to find out the status of the Statute of Praemunire in Australia now. In the UK it was cancelled in the Criminal Law Act of 1967, at the same time the 12 countries formed the EU ( long before the UK joined the EU ). You would think that it would have been dealt with here when we lost the ability to appeal to the Privy Council, but I have found some suggestion that there are still holdovers in some of the old Imperial legislation ( at least at state level ) I can’t find anything definite yet.

      It would be fascinating if this Statute could still be applied to those who seek to set up deference to a foreign power structure here.

    • Stewie GriffinMEMBER

      Bashi Bazouks, to an extent that captures his purpose – but his ideology is more like a new age neo-communist, intend on redistributing our Social Capital to those who’ve played no part in its creation.

      The Alt-right use the term cultural marxist, something that never made any sense to me until I came across the likes of Tom Westinghouse.

      • FiftiesFibroShack

        “The Alt-right use the term cultural marxist, something that never made any sense to me until I came across the likes of Tom Westinghouse”
        It only made sense to me after reading up on Lind and his efforts to get ‘cultural Marxism’ into the public lexicon in an effort to associate ideas the right object to with communism/socialism.

    • GeordieMEMBER

      Add donations being tracked and disclosed real-time (include an individual to authorise the payment) and that is a recipe for better health in government!

    • Geeze mate I thought that you’d be a bit better informed re: complexity of dual citizenship.
      What we are seeing today are the simple cases of direct descendants and those actually born outside Australia, however the issue is infinitely more complex than that AND it’s forever changing because your right to claim another citizenship is a function of laws passed in other countries, the situation can change at the stroke of a foreign pen, all done without you ever suspecting that this change entitled you to now claim another citizenship.
      Imagine some tiny Pacific island creates a law that say anyone that was born anywhere can claim citizenship, does that law automatically make every person on the face of the globe a dual national? wouldn’t it be fun for Tonga to pass such a law and than making the worlds citizens pay to relinquish their claim to that citizenship.
      A less fanciful case involves a friend whose son was born in China, now the PRC does not recognize citizenship by birth but Taiwan recognizes all PRC born as having the right to ROC citizenship (notice that your parents don’t need to be a PRC citizens you just need to be PRC born) and the real kicker is that PRC recognizes all Taiwan citizens as having the right to claim PRC citizenship….F-me In the one case by the laws of one country this boy has ONLY the nationality of his father but combine the laws of two countries and he suddenly has the right to claim three citizenships.
      If you want a more European example Irish citizenship is available by a variety of obscure means that involve proving Irish ancestry and proving some cultural connection. well that about covers my whole extended family our gene poll was long ago polluted with the mutant seed of those red haired devils, does that make me Irish.
      The right to Dual citizenship is an extremely complex issue so if Australia wants to police this matter than Australia needs to pass its own laws about what constitutes dual citizenship…If we’re after a law that has meaning than it’d better be a law that defines citizenship in much narrower terms than the right to claim dual citizenship…of course the real issue is the distraction value of dual citizenship, it’s Political theater 101 so we wouldn’t want to fix that.

      • I must have missed some part of this debate along the way, are people talking about actual recorded citizenship of a foreign country or merely the entitlement to claim citizenship – say because a parent or grandparent was a citizen at the time of your birth.

        And that is of course different again to holding a passport.

        I can see how S44 would apply to someone who is recorded as a citizen of a foreign country but I don’t see how it applies to someone that the foreign power has no record of and who has not made any application for foreign citizenship pursuant to some ancestoral entitlement.

        I better let my 80+ father he had better renounce any claims to Irish citizenship because his grandfather was an Irish citizen (migrated in 1890) fast if he still wants to get a gig as a politician.

      • GunnamattaMEMBER


        My wife and kids have dual citizenship. I dont. Sure there will be countless Australians in a like boat. If they want to stand for parliament they can formally renounce all actual or potential claims to allegiance of any other nation and be vetted to ensure that they have done so for any actual claims.

      • TailorTrashMEMBER

        Ireland is interesting as its passports state …” It is the entitlement and birthright of every person born on the island of Ireland which includes its islands and seas to be part of the Irish nation” …..this is an entitlement also extended to those British citazens born in Northern Ireland as part of the UK . This “entitlement ” also passes to the children of persons so born . But I think you have to make a conscious and deliberate effort with appropriate paper work to claim your “entitlement” of Irish Citizenship.

        This would appear to be a question for Mr Canavan ……..does Italy offer the same “entitlement” and did he make deliberate efforts to claim his Italian citizenship.

    • It really doesn’t matter what their citizenship is. What matters is who pays them. They should not be allowed to get foreign money.

      Really, how can we have a foreign minister, who gets money from China via the “Julie Bishop Glorious Foundation”? Is she representing Australia, or her paymasters?

    • drsmithyMEMBER

      Sorry, Gunna, I think you’re conflating the very important issue of political donations (foreign AND domestic) with the relatively unimportant issue of whether or not someone who is an Australian citizen and has spent basically all their lives in Australia cannot be trusted because they’ve inherited a foreign citizenship.

      • GunnamattaMEMBER

        Maybe. But i sont think it too much to ask people to be accountable about what other allegiances they have (or may have) or to formally renounce these.

        I do think all of these issue could be wrapped up in some sort of code of political accountability and i do tjink all pollies need to be made more accountable.

      • Gunna – if it’s like the Grocery Code of Conduct this politics code of accountability you propose should be the salve to soothe all possible problems!

        Maybe replace the constitution with the Code, even?

    • billygoatMEMBER

      Surely there’s an app to track expenditure & spending? If not, design & build in back door for corruption. Surely any hacker, programmer or code writer worth their salt could knock one of these up? Public mollified & politician business as usual!!

  8. fitzroyMEMBER

    A right of reply from the Guardian?…

    Rational debate? Your expectations are far too high.
    Far better to de platform. They are a bunch of gutless SJW Wimps.

    Theirs is a safe space echo chamber for puerile snowflakes

    • billygoatMEMBER

      @Fitzroy & everyone.
      Phone The Guardian 02 8076 8401 and request right of reply for LVO. I asked to speak to the editor responsible for Tom’s article/opinion piece and got put on hold for 7 minutes. Receptionist came back & couldn’t find find him. I figure she doesn’t know what an editor is, they don’t have one or whoever is responsible is not taking calls. Never mind just leave a message with receptionist to pass on.

  9. SweeperMEMBER

    Yeah I thought his notion of a global welfare function was um naive politically. Social welfare isn’t something a single minded collective (call it the nation) chooses, its more an outcome or a bargain reached after rival groups within the nation have fought for their own interests. In this context, it’s a bit unrealistic that whatever concessions have been achieved will voluntarily be shared by those who don’t control the nations assets or extended by those who do. Which is why xenophobia has always come from below. It’s not good, it’s just political reality. You can abstract from it and pretend a switch can be flicked over to a global welfare function but it’s not really realistic.
    Having said that, I think the point that immigration isn’t depressing wages/employment (made again by Martin) is correct and that the current level of immigration could work if we chose a different ism. So it would make more sense to discuss the ism we seem to be stuck with

    • GunnamattaMEMBER

      and to be honest I would buy that.

      If someone was to talk up to me and say (as they did in the 50s and 60s) we are going to import X number of punters each year to build up export facing industries which employ lots of people, and back it all with major infrastructure and a serious plan to move shit out of Sydney and Melbourne I would buy it. I would buy it more if they came out with – ‘These are the benchmarks we will use, which will determine how many extra bums on seats we take each year.’

      But nobody is going within a bulls roar of that. We get the Jess Irvine economic incoherence argument or the Westwhatever line that it is our global duty to be an immigrant taker first and to subordinate everything else to that.

      • Even better would be if he was promoting the export of productive capital to the developing world.

        That would be the single best way of improving the global welfare function quickly.

        And export it free of interest or token levels would be even better.

        There is very weird disconnect in the idea that the solution to global inequality is to make no changes to the local neoliberal model and instead just run a lucky person lottery or sell access to the highest bidder.

        But then most Post modern progressives have zero understanding of how neoliberalism, money, banking or international trade currently work so they just treat it as a given rather than a key mission objective.

    • fitzroyMEMBER

      Most taxpayers would not begrudge their fellow citizens a safety net in unemployment or sickness. There is a social contract with the taxpayer that the safety net is not abused. Likewise the legal, public service, transport,defence, and medical systems built up and paid for by current and past taxpayers are freely given to new migrants. This is expensive for the current taxpayers and occupants. Sometimes this generosity is not acknowledged and is abused. Benbrika is an extreme but not isolated example of the abuse. The guardian economist is an example of those who do not acknowledge how it was that the things he takes for granted and provided by the sacrifice and suffering of others and the sweat of their backs came to be. It is a selfish mentality and displays no perspective or intellect.

    • GeordieMEMBER

      Yes. If the Federal Government was to inject the funds needed to sustainably grow the population at whatever rate, including driving productivity (and all that comes with it), then yes, that is a fine way to go. However, it has never been mentioned and the cost would make the NBN look like a routine water main upgrade.

      Which brings us back to slower population growth as the only remaining option. It isn’t immigrants that are the problem – they’re just another you or me – it is policy failure of successive governments to accommodate or manage population growth that is the problem.

      • Remember that the government can’t “inject” shit. They don’t have a bag full of money. Any money they spend needs to be taken from the people as taxes or borrowed (and later taken from people as taxes).

        So… reduced population growth it is!

      • GeordieMEMBER

        Print it. If the ROI is greater than the dollars spent then we win. Not a fashionable way to fund projects, but a very effective one if investments are made wisely.

        (Yes, I know using the word wisely in any discussion regarding our government is oxymoronic)

      • Printing is a bit better because at least it steals from foreign bond holders as well as all Australian citizens. But it’s only marginal, because our debt levels are still to low to make the foreigner:local theft ratio attractive!

      • Printing now, given the current levels of private debt, will help deal with that too, particularly if the Government started spending hundreds of billions per year with new money. However, you’d need an apolitical, transparent federal department to determine what was to be built and where, within a larger national plan. Now I’m really dreaming…

  10. haroldusMEMBER

    Well it occurs to me that this stoush with the Grauniad could be the best thing that ever happened to MB.

    You know how much I love MB,5 years ago I was a big Graun reader, I went there from Crikey when First Dog went there, and I think I discovered MB after Bubbelpedia died. Now I’m at the graun maybe once a week when I am desperate for something to read. I KNOW I’ll have at least a couple of things to think about at MB every day, plus the comments.

    The long winded point is, I don’t think I am the only Grauniad reader ready to jump ship. Consider the articles on which they allow comment.

    Also, the Daily Mail is faster with breaking crime news than anyone else!

  11. proofreadersMEMBER

    Off memory, the 2016 Census told us that more than half the current population was born outside Straya. On that basis, dual citizenship and allegiances are probably deserving of closer attention?

  12. Peter Martin is a leftist extremist. Clings to other leftist extremists’ biased analysis to confirm his extreme leftist views.

  13. Wow I didn’t think it possible to fit every hot button issue facing Australia (inc dual citizenship) into a single post, but you’ve proved me wrong.
    I wonder if this post proves anything else?

    • The Netherlands as well.

      I am not able to have dual nationality. Dutch law states that if I voluntarily acquire Australian citizenship I will automatically lose Dutch citizenship.

      My kids are able to have both nationalities as per an exception to the rule. Dutch law reasons that because they didn’t acquire Australian Nationality voluntarily by being born here their Dutch Nationality is not taken away from them.

      The whole idea that Nationality has anything to do with loyalty at all is frankly ridiculous and can only be concocted by people who have never migrated themselves. If I were to take on Australian citizenship it would not change a single thing about my loyalty/warm feeling towards my home country. That in turn does not make a single difference to me wanting to add something positive to society here. It’s utter bollocks if you ask me.

  14. I disagree with the notion that we should cut the mainstream migration program and double humanitarian intake – cut them both.

    What is the point of bringing in massive numbers of people with no skills or capital that require public funds? Because feelings? No one can ever really explain what exactly our ‘international obligations’ are other than a vague reference to the Open borders socialist UN, which currently has Saudis, Iran, China and Venezuela on its human rights commission. I don’t remember getting to vote on joining the U.N. but I would like a referendum on leaving it.

    We’ve been generous enough. End it or reduce it to 250 a year. Look at the damn birth rates in the third world and you see how futile running a refugee program really is. Better off helping these people where they are.

    My 2 cents.

    • Doubling the refugee intake would just be a gesture which would demonstrate very clearly that the migration controls aren’t founded in racism.

      Just signalling. That’s all. But that’s important to getting to the destination.

      • Agree but there is also a moral basis in that you are taking in a modest number refugees from the countries who you help blow up.

      • Disagree. It is not the various kids fault that they were born in shitholes.

        Besides, real Darwinism probably involves us getting our ass whooped by Malaysia, Indonesia and China. And Japan.

    • drsmithyMEMBER

      There’s no reason to consider refugees as implicitly unskilled. ineed, if anything you’d expect the refugees that make it here under their own power to be more likely to be skilled.

      Depending on their origin, we may have some responsibility in making them refugees in the first place, so there is potentially some moral and ethical imperative there as well.

    • We’ve been generous enough.

      BS, there is nothing ‘generous’ about Australia’s migration schemes. The only reason for Australian migration is because you guys see a need, either outspoken (skills) or hidden (propping up property, pushing down wages). The migration procedures themselves make that very, very clear to any applicant.

      Where you can be genuinly generous, a refugee scheme, you aren’t and you rather tow them to concentration camps on islands in developing countries.

      • Concentration camps? You mean three meals a day, medical, dental, translating services, English lessons, internet. Hardly the Gulag.

        And when you bypass a ton of safe countries only to throw your passport overboard to go to the one dangling the welfare carrot, it kinda undermines the whole thing.

        Your other mistake is assuming our migration program is both skills driven and properly enforced. It isn’t. Thousands of Indian cooks, waiters and car washers being fraudulently sponsored under different occupations and wages not even remotely close to TSMIT. I never knew Australia’s hospitality industry was in such sure straits that we needed to mass import third worlders willing to work for slave wages.

        Again, the birth rates in the third world make it redundant in the long term. 16 million people a year in average born in India alone. Our and others intake matters not. This humanitarian intake would be very easily solved – you want it, you pay for it. Holding a gun to the tax payers head and telling them “it’s for compassionate reasons” is not compassion. Particularly when the simultaneous robbery of our citizen’s wealth by our glorious leaders is transpiring. Apparently I should pay for both.

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        Concentration camps? You mean three meals a day, medical, dental, translating services, English lessons, internet.

        Rapes, assaults, psychological abuse, denial of medical care for poltical reasons…

        And when you bypass a ton of safe countries only to throw your passport overboard to go to the one dangling the welfare carrot, it kinda undermines the whole thing.

        LOL. “Dangling the welfare carrot”. That’s almost as silly as “economic migrants”.

        Here’s a map of “safe” countries. Which “ton” are you thinking of around Australia ?

    • Rational RadicalMEMBER

      And right here is why MacroBusiness will be unfairly lumped in with the alt-right loony bin, and fail to cut through in any lasting way on this issue. Don’t believe in the global refugee convention? Don’t believe in inalienable human rights not to be arbitrarily detained and abused? Just pray you don’t end up a fucking refugee one day. What an appalling perspective, exactly the kind of anti-humanist rubbish that destroys the immigration debate – just as much as the mis-guided globalists that have overtaken the leftwing.

      Someone pointed out the other day that MB bans folks who continually disagree with their political positions. Yet again I am left to wonder aloud whether NOT banning such toxic anachronistic, divorced-from-history views as Stephen’s is actually the MB way?

      As I’ve mentioned in the past, it would be a tragedy for MB to be written off on the basis of some of it’s appalling commenters (by far the minority) – which Westlakeland referred to. The racists and the sexists are most definitely lurking around here – and it wouldn’t kill to occasionally offer a warning. Jeez. So fed up with this debate being left to fester in the gutters of utterly selfish and prejudiced views – and undermine the amazing work MB is doing in leading this debate.

      Stick to the facts, as implored by this blog. You may be against globalism, but if you believe that Australia is not a global citizen, your arguments are damaging to the cause of actually reducing immigration in Australia.

      • For someone image crafting themselves as “rational” there sure was a lot of assertion, labelling and emotion. And threats of “hope to God you are never a refugee” are just childish. Far from alt right, again, labelling. In the basis of your response I’d hazard a guess that you’re a soft leftist and probably from Melbourne. Fair enough.

        The reality remains birth rates vs carrying capacity and economic capacity to support long term displacement of individuals. My comment was far from heartless. I did suggest greater assistance to those in their own country as a more prudent long term strategy. What’s wrong with that? The not of their people we take the more their country suffers long term due to no local talent to build the country up.

        Arbitrarily detained? They entered the country illegally. Does a nation not have a right to enforce it’s borders? If you believe in locks on your doors you believe in borders. Unfortunately a lot of Australians still are presented with this idea that “refugees” are all huddled masses, many of them aren’t and are purely third world economic migrants – ask the Europeans how that is going. Sure a he’ll of a lot of African Syrians there at the moment.

        Could you also please explain to me why society writ large should bear the cost to displacement due to war? I was completely against Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria but apparently, I and everyone else in the west has to wear the socioeconomic cost of mass displacement of people into our own countries, when none of us got a say in going to war. They privatize the profits (money, power) and socialise the losses (social upheaval). How is that fair or “rational”.

        I think my comments are valid. You’re free to disagree, thats how free speech works. I won’t have a tantrum bud.

        drsmithy many of those rapes and assaults were also perpetrated by refugees against each other. Think we should be importing that kind of behaviour when we already have enough to deal with here?

        And as for your welfare “retort” – there’s a reason those in Europe are mainly headed to three countries, UK, Germany and Sweden. There’s some just some correlation I can’t put my finger on.

      • Rational RadicalMEMBER

        Yeah good one, the world is facing a global refugee crisis, the likes of which have not been seen since WW2, the greatest human calamity of all time – an event which led to the founding of the very imperfect, but necessary, institutions of the United Nations, international bill of human rights, the refugee convention etc. etc.

        In your hyper-nationalist little bubble, Australia should no doubt be able to reap all of the benefits of globalisation, but none of the supra-national obligations. Classic jingoism – “Fuck the international order, and fuck human rights, because I declare the arrival mode / origin / volume of asylum seekers as illegal”. Nearly all modern international processes are broken, but you seem to want to throw the human babies out with the bathwater – denying that we have ANY obligation to refugees created by wars in which our national government actively participated.

        The nation does not get off the hook because some (most) of it’s people opposed such involvement in conflicts. That would be like saying that participants in WW2 had no obligation to war reparations because most people didn’t want the war. Imagine the 20th century world order had that concept prevailed…

        Only the due process of law can determine if an “illegal arrival” is actually illegal, not your own sheltered worldview, sorry. And if you believe the refugee convention has a historic purpose and context, then it is up to that process to decide whether or not someone has arrived illegally. The only question then remains one of how to reform that process, not whether or not its cool to lock people away in indefinite detention – although you clearly deny the significant evidence of such human rights abuse as presented by the likes of Amnesty International and the UNHCR. No doubt you have your own alternative facts to disprove those claims.

        Now if you DON’T believe in the refugee convention’s historical purpose and context, then I’m wasting my breath, and rest my case. I’m not debating your right to talk about how many refugees or migrants full stop Australia can support. I’m debating your appalling characterisation of refugees who’ve been locked away for years on end without due legal process, many of who have experienced abuse according to reputable independent agencies, with “Concentration camps? You mean three meals a day, medical, dental, translating services, English lessons, internet. Hardly the Gulag.”

        Never mind the refugee convention – do you believe in fundamental legal rights – to protect us from the abuse of power perpetrated by those with political agendas etc etc….?????

        Wow. That’s why MacroBusiness is more likely than not to get unfairly lumped into the loony bin thanks to jingoistic angry little men running around its comments section. It’s not about left and right, it’s about a fundamental belief in human rights. If you can’t defend that, we’re fucked anyway, and we will most definitely lose the debate to lower permanent migration levels – a change that I am most definitely in favour of. Some people can’t see the wood for the trees.

  15. Mr SquiggleMEMBER

    “…between 2008 and 2016 Australia’s labour market created an extra 474,000 full-time jobs. But only 74,000 went to people born in Australia. …”

    this is a damning indictment. Perhaps I should give 70% of my democratic vote to overseas interests, because thats who politicians are working for.

    Declaring the % of local jobs going to migrants should be a mandatory component of the labour force data stream.

  16. Call him Tom Westfield. That is what he represents.

    Let me demolish his lifetime earnings argument:

    Old data says that immigrants get paid more over a lifetime than non-immigrants?

    Well, in the past, immigrants were doctors or highly qualified. Then Rudd won the election and Aussie passports were given out for doing a bloody cooking course or a hairdressing course!

    Aussie degrees have been dumbed down. It was actually hard to get a degree when Howard was PM.

    Anyway, why not require immigrants to bring 4 kg of gold with them? To fund the infrastructure that they will require.

  17. The idea that every Australian of Italian descent needs to formally renounce their unrecognised right to citizenship (as this migration lawyer suggests) is a bit over the top IMO. It would be interesting to see how a court would handle this.

    Matt Canavan on the other hand allegedly actively went to the Italian consulate / embassy and sought to have his Italian citizenship recognised which is a totally different story!

  18. HadronCollisionMEMBER

    All this confusing commentary from the usually sane MB commentariat

    Canavan’s situation is simple, in law.

    If he is in fact an Italian national, he has to resign.

    The Constitution is unambiguous.

    Any suggestion of Constitutional change is an entirely separate matter.

    There’s no question of fairness or appropriateness, he has to go. Crystal clear.

    FWIW, I happen to think no member of parliament should hold any other nationality. Australia, run by Australians, for Australians.

    If you want to take up another nationality and hold dually, then leave parliament, or do so after you retire. It is that simple.

    This business about our multicultural background and the rule being anachronistic ignores that one simple point: by Australians, for Australians.

    Upon entry to parliament, you can simply renounce prospectively all allegiance to any other nation and prospectively renounce any citizenship should laws in other countries change during your term. The Constitition can change to mirror this (in the unlikely event DPRK decided to make all AU parliamentarians citizens for a lark).

    • “Upon entry to parliament, you can simply renounce prospectively all allegiance to any other nation and prospectively renounce any citizenship should laws in other countries change during your term.”

      That’s like the metal detectors at the airport – lots of show to keep the masses happy but utterly useless against someone actually wanting to cause trouble.

      In recent years, the MP who has acted most against Australia’s direct interest has been Andrew Robb who didn’t need Chinese citizenship to do that.

      • HadronCollisionMEMBER

        Jason – this is about compliance with the constitution.
        People (Banana brain Barnaby) have raised the spectre of a foreign nation signing all Au nationals up for Libyan citizenship at the stroke of the pen. My suggestion, or its notion, was made in the interests of ensuring compliance with the constitution, and the notion of parliament being represented by Australians.

        I do not disagree with you on Robb, but strictly speaking he didn’t break any laws, did he (?). Notwithstanding the fact he obviously has not acted in Au’s best interests and I think has a case to answer. More fundamentally, in his case, it brings into question the fairnes of drawing a parliamentary pension and being paid in the private sector, in the area you had ministerial responsibility for. I think we can all agree on this, except probably 3d1k, who probably thinks Robb should be granted a Chinese Order of Merit for representing Sino interests.

      • Sorry, I thought you last point was to suggest that the Constitution could be changed rather than just complied with.

        Either way, I am not entirely convinced by the “Australians for Australia” argument because we know that having a piece of paper that says you are an Australian and nothing else is a useless protection if someone actually wanted to hurt us.

      • blacktwin997MEMBER

        Australia, run by Australians who aren’t Cunts, for Australians who aren’t Cunts


    • drsmithyMEMBER

      Upon entry to parliament, you can simply renounce prospectively all allegiance to any other nation and prospectively renounce any citizenship should laws in other countries change during your term.

      This would have zero actual legal implications on whether or not you held foreign citizenship.

      In practical terms it is no different to the existing swearing of allegiance to the country.

      A more useful change would be to allow a grace period should “unknown” dual/multi citizenship be discovered to allow for renouncing, and severe penalties for those who were aware of holding dual/multi citizenship and did not disclose it.

      In my personal opinion, the most significant evidence to determine the latter would be – as an adult – has the person in question acquired citizenship through specific application, or held a foreign passport by virtue of inherited citzenship.

      (Assuming you believe citizenship is a meaningful indicator of loyalty in the first place.)

    • I agree with you that the Canaan aspect has been over analysed. I differ to you in that if you nominate to run you should have already renounced all other citizenships.

  19. drsmithyMEMBER

    The argument that someone will have an allegiance to a foreign power because of a citizenship he did not know he had and did not actively seek out is absurd on its face.

    Indeed, in this day and age the suggestion that someone has divided loyalties through a second citizenship is itself on shaky ground.

    • The problem with the “didn’t know he had” qualifier is that it would require proof of someone’s state of mind. This would be exceedingly hard.

      That’s why big dumb rules are good. It’s very clear whether they are broken or not.

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        I disagree. You could make a quite reasonable assumption based on how the citizenship was acquired (eg: passive inheritance vs active application) and the individual’s actions upon “discovering” it (and previously – eg: had they applied for a foreign passport based on that citizenship).

        A court could make a determination if someone wanted to push the point further.

        The problem with big dumb rules is the splash damage can be quite significant (Ludlam and Waters) for little apparent benefit (eg: how has this rule materially helped the country – sure as hell hasn’t stopped Andrew Robb or anyone who was in favour of the TPP).

      • I think that until the Canavan issue came up, everyone in Parliament sitting on the same side of the dispatch box as the Prime Minister was very clear in their mind on how this had materially helped the country – it kept some of the riff raff out.

      • Smithy – it’s not “splash damage” it’s the core and primary law of the land. Love it or leave it.

        StatSailor – damn straight, man.

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        Smithy – it’s not “splash damage” it’s the core and primary law of the land.

        Er, what ? Those two things have no relationship to each other.

        A perfectly valid law can have negative consequences. This neither makes the law invalid, nor obviates or justifies its negative consequences.

        The right solution is not to say that the law is inviolable and unchangeable and thus the negative outcomes inevitable for eternity, but to re-examine the law for appropriateness.

        Love it or leave it.

        Ah, I see. A case of Patriotic Stupidity Syndrome.

        Try making your point without the circular reasoning.

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      You don’t think Menzies and Abbott were/are a little sichophantic over the “Mother country” Smithy?

      • Isn’t that his point? No dual citizenship but clearly compromised due to personal preferences.

      • In fairness to Menzies, in the most recent High Court ruling on section 44 in relation to foreign allegiance, Sue vs Hill, 1999, the Court of Disputed Returns was unable to decide if the UK was a foreign power during Menzies time, being unable to state when between Federation and the enactment of the Australia Act, the UK became a foreign power. So Menzies may have been perfectly correct to regard Australia as somehow dependent on the UK.

        “Each of the majority justiies state that the UK became a foreign power at some
        time, probably before the enactment of the Australia Acts.” This is troubling. Given
        the size of the judgment (some 85 pages in total) it would have been desirable if the
        Court actually set a fixed date in which Australia completed her evolution into an
        independent and sovereign nation so that it can be established when the UK became
        a foreign power”


      • drsmithyMEMBER

        Isn’t that his point? No dual citizenship but clearly compromised due to personal preferences.


    • Ronin8317MEMBER

      There is a very practical concern with dual nationals in parliament concerning being arrested overseas. It can void the diplomatic immunity for head of states, leading to all kind of nasty foreign relation outcomes.

      All it takes to renounce citizenship is a letter.

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        There is a very practical concern with dual nationals in parliament concerning being arrested overseas. It can void the diplomatic immunity for head of states, leading to all kind of nasty foreign relation outcomes.

        Ah, now that sounds like a genuinely serious reason. Can you expand ? How does it interact with the person in question not actually knowing they hold the relevant foreign citizenship (eg: do not hold a passport for the relevant country and travelled there using an Australian passport).

        All it takes to renounce citizenship is a letter.

        Assuming you know you need to send the letter, which is the point that’s driving this whole kerfuffle.

  20. ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

    “the unequal division of resources among the peoples of the world is largely arbitrary and often the result of historical patterns of state violence and conquest. If you believe the latter, as I do, then barring immigrants from enjoying these stocks of natural and infrastructural wealth, even at the cost of their partial degradation, is hard to justify morally.”

    This mentality shits me to death, and it infects so many claiming to be “Left”.
    Like Stewie is saying above, its a new kind of self loathing international NeoCommunism, that is ironically most advocated for in our society, by inner city metropolitan bourgeois bohemians!
    A Proffessional class of smug, virtue signalling, know it all’s, that think they will rule and prosper under any political out comes,…but profess to know all the directions we should take as a Democratic Nation.

    If Working people, do not take back the “Left” from these fucking wankers, then there is no hope of any real change to the Economic status quo,.. none!
    If this mentality can not be rooted out of the Labor party,…then there is fuck all chance of defeating it Nationally!


    • drsmithyMEMBER

      This mentality shits me to death, and it infects so many claiming to be “Left”.
      Like Stewie is saying above, its a new kind of self loathing international NeoCommunism, that is ironically most advocated for in our society, by inner city metropolitan bourgeois bohemians!
      A Proffessional class of smug, virtue signalling, know it all’s, that think they will rule and prosper under any political out comes,…but profess to know all the directions we should take as a Democratic Nation.

      We’re all humans dependant and living on a single planet is a perfectly reasonable conclusion to arrive at without any need for “self loathing”. It’s just a logical extension of the family – village – town- city – state – nation hierarchy.

      Not recognising or acknowledging the praticalities and consequences involved in trying to actually implement that vision, however, is pretty stupid.

      • No it’s not it’s retarded. It’s worse than that actually. It’s wilfully retarded. It’s quite obvious they know what the end results will be but they do it anyway. Because blerrgh blah brit empire hundreds of years ago. So by that logic what my ancestors did in the year 50, I should be punished for now. Assuming they did something bad. Which they probably did collectively and by proxy. Sacrificed a virgin or something, whatever it might have been.

      • FiftiesFibroShack

        It’s basically a luck of the draw argument. Sure, we lucked out and were born in a relatively wealthy and peaceful western nation – it’s healthy to recognise that. But the moral argument is an easy one to make when you’re protected and it shows an indifference to the poor already living here and the fact they’ll be most vulnerable to any economic negatives from high immigration.

  21. At least the other senators did the decent thing and just walked. This guy is is like one of those cricketers who knows they’ve edged the ball but call for the review just in case the technology failed at that precise moment, or the laws of physics were temporarily suspended. He’s just wasting everyone’s time and money and flaunting his poor character.

    I think the rules are dumb, but they are rules. I was born in the UK, my parents emigrated, we counted down the days til the naturalisation ceremony. After that when I came home from school having been teased about being a pom, my parents would proudly say you are now Australian, tell them you have been naturalised. I think it partly worked because those people teasing me didn’t know what naturalised meant and just got too confused to continue. I like to keep my passport in case I ever want to work there or in europe (although this reason will change soon). I support the Australian cricket team, pay shedloads of tax and contribute to society in other ways. I cant seek office however, that just seem to me an extension of the “you’re a POM” schoolyard attitude. There are other tests we should apply first. ie Do you belong to a political party, Sorry you are unsuitable for office. 🙂

  22. I was thinking the easiest way to fix this problem with Section 44 is to bring in a new section of the Citizenship Act where one takes an oath of pure loyalty to Australia, creating a case of Citizens who have declared all ties to other countries to be false. Still have normal citizenship for those of us who want to remain Dual Nationals (or Triple Nationals as some of us are actually) but let the pollies or wannabe pollies become loyal subjects of the Crown of the Queen of Australia (legally a different person to the Queen in her capacity as Queen of the UK, Queen of NZ, Queen of Canada or PNG, Jamaica, Bahamas etc).

  23. Take Tom Westlakeland’s property portfolio and apply his principles of equal division. We’ll see what he thinks then…

    • That’s the problem in a nutshell. There is no individual representative “Mr Nation” choosing total social welfare. Interesting theoretically but not realistic.

  24. its gotta be post post modernism by now hasn’t it, post modernism was all the wanky rage when I was at uni 22 years ago

  25. “This principle has never been more vital. As Australia’s people links to foreign powers expand, the risk of a dual national that does not have Australia’s best interests at heart (versus some other country) making decisions in the parliament grows.”

    And this would be different from what we already do? Iraq and Afghanistan were not in our interests at all, other than proving up operational capability.