INDEPENDENT Indi MP Cathy McGowan has been labelled ‘soft on terrorism’ by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton after she chose not to support a Bill that could see dual citizens involved in terrorism lose their Australian citizenship.
The Australian Citizenship Amendment (Allegiance to Australia) Bill 2015 had bipartisan support, but was not supported by the Greens and Ms McGowan.
Her stance has come under fire from the Coalition Government.
“Ms McGowan needs to explain to the people of Indi why she is soft on terrorism,” Minister Dutton said.
“Most Australians support the Coalition Government’s measures to do all it can to prevent terrorist activity in Australia and to stop those who commit terrorist acts overseas from coming back to Australia.
“That’s what this legislation aims to do, yet the Member for Indi does not think it is worth supporting.”
Ms McGowan defended her move following the criticism from Minister Dutton, and said she did not feel the Bill was strong or reliable enough.
Ms McGowan said her focus was clearly on the inclusion of a retrospective provision and the cloud of uncertainty over the constitutional viability of the Bill.
Ms McGowan said the rule of law should be a paramount focus in Parliament.
“Our processes and procedures work to ensure that we have the highest possible standards of government and the best outcomes for the people of Australia,” she said.
“Retrospective laws make the law less certain and reliable, and a person who makes a decision based on what the law is today will be disadvantaged if the law is changed retrospectively.
“From my perspective, enacting a retrospective law weakens the rule of law and has the potential to lessen the level of confidence the people of Australia have in us as legislators.”
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