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36-page constitution gives pollies no excuse

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull addresses the media at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Offices in Melbourne.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull addresses the media at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Offices in Melbourne. JAMES ROSS

OPINION: HAS anyone read our constitution?

Judging by the current citizenship crisis, most of our current crop of politicians have not.

But I don't know why you'd skip giving it a read because it is no War or Peace (1,440 pages).

From start to finish it runs to 36 pages, including the introduction and explanatory notes.

The parliamentary members who've run afoul of the constitution have done so because of Section 44 which is headed "disqualification" and rules out anyone who "is under any acknowledgment 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".

There is precious little wriggle room there for dual citizens.

While dual citizenship may be trendy when you are backpacking around the globe, when you run for the highest office in the land, you have to be an Aussie.

Fair enough, I reckon, and anyone who can't understand that before seeking election is a mug.

Those calling for a change to our constitution to allow this section to be re-written need to pull their heads in.

It requires a referendum to change the constitution and there are far more important issues facing the country rather than allowing our pollies off the hook over this one.

On top of the $120 million it cost us for the same-sex marriage survey, the mood in the electorate would be enough to lynch the next politician who suggests a change to Section 44 of the constitution.

Topics:  citizenship crisis constitution editors picks malcolm turnbull opinion politicians


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