|EDITORIAL: Divided loyalties under the spotlight|
EDITORIAL: Divided loyalties under the spotlight
IRONICALLY, the national politics of this multicultural nation finds itself caught up in a dilemma that is uniquely multicultural.
The dilemma is dual citizenship and this is very much a national issue because it involves national sovereignty.
At least nine politicians have been forced out of federal parliament, prompting talks of crisis, by-election and the possibility of a hung government which could spark an early federal election next year.
What to make of this? For a start, it is very much a national issue. Dual citizenship itself is legal in Australia and even at the lower levels of government such as local and may be even state elections. But entering national politics requires a binding commitment to serving the interests of this country, especially if you become a Cabinet minister. Your loyalty to one flag, one passport, is required regardless of your ethnic background. It has to be so. For Australia is an immigrant nation; the only Australians who heritage is 100 percent Australian are the Indigenous Australians; everyone else are immigrants.
This doesn’t mean the politicians turn their back on their heritage; how can they? It means they make a choice. When a federal politician takes office, they swear an oath of allegiance to this country. But if someone holds the passport of a second country, that means their allegiance is divided. There is an old saying: a man cannot be slave to two masters. This is proving to be the case for the federal government of the day. The High Court has ruled it so.
This debate is clouded even further in regards to former Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce’s circumstances and Australia’s ties to New Zealand. The ANZAC myth (Australians and New Zealanders fighting side-by-side in different wars) has helped foster an almost country-state relationship. There is a written clause in the Australian Constitution that talks about New Zealand as a state of Australia. That clause has never been changed even though the Kiwis, in the 1890s, quickly went their own way. Does this mean, technically, that Joyce did not have to resign because of his Kiwi status? (He’s a first generation Australian by the way; his father came from New Zealand.)
The national parliament of Australia requires a binding commitment from its politicians. This does not, in any way, affect multiculturalism in this country.
Editor in Chief