Ok, I have not paid a lot of attention to the call for PM Tony Abbott to declare when he renounced his UK citizenship, you know, life, going to war and I won’t even start on how many aspects of the budget have absorbed my attention, so this one has sort of passed me by, until today that is.

A bloke called Grant Wyeth has written an article in The Drum titled “The 'birther' barrier is holding Parliament back” and if he thought his high and mighty attitude of “Let's hope this silly undertaking of "gotcha" journalism provides momentum to remove Article 44(i) from our laws.” would make this “ridiculous” (his word not mine) campaign go away, he is sorely mistaken. Instead, it actually made me look into it further and I say "Rulz is Rulz Mr Abbott".

For starters, the pompous use of the word ‘Birther’ by this writer and other journalists I have seen mention on Twitter is just condescending. This is nothing like the hysterical rubbish that Barack Obama went through, hell those nutters were still trying to say his passport was forged and all sorts of weird stuff after he did address the issue. To compare myself & others to the likes of a Palin or US Fox News hyperventilating viewer, is just insulting. Most importantly, no-one is questioning Mr Abbott’s ‘birth’ we all know where he was born, so media (and it was media who named it this) and the likes of Mr Wyeth are promoting that ridiculous terminology, not punters. Or, is lumping those questioning this status as 'Birthers', journalistic/intellectual snobbery due to the fact that Independent Australia has been raising this issue and they are not mainstream media?

Mr Wyeth seems to infer that as we are a multicultural nation therefore Article 44(i) of the Constitution is no longer required, so the very questioning of the PM renouncing his UK citizenship, is pretty much a 'who cares' drama that we should not be bothering to pay attention to.

Well, Article 44(i) might be outdated, hell most of our Constitution is a bit long in the tooth, just ask members of our Indigenous family?  On that I agree, though not necessarily is regard to that particular article item. As someone mentioned to me, what if Mr Abbott had dual citizenship with Iraq, would that affect what is currently happening at the moment with us rocking in to take on the nasty ISIL extremists? Would the spin maybe be different than what we are getting now? Would we as a nation be questioning his motives? Would the media themselves be asking different questions of the PM? On this issue the jury is out for me. I know it doesn't fit with certain people's black & white, left vs right beliefs, BUT, just because you believe that your elected representatives should have their electorate and nation as their first priority and legal responsibility as an MP, does not make you a nutter ready to sport a southern cross tattoo & drunkenly start a race riot under the guise of overzealous patriotism.

My issue here upon looking into this campaign is the LAW. There are a shipload of laws that we all think are rather redundant and should probably be tossed off the books, doesn’t matter, we can still be charged by them an have to abide by them.

Our MP’s are not above the law.

How often have we had to cop examples like a particular MP popping into a school for a flying visit just so they can claim the whole weekend in a resort town to attend a party fundraiser, Wedding &/ sporting event on the taxpayers dollar? We all hate it, but it is ‘technically’ legal for them to do so, therefore on more than one occasion we have been told "all travel was undertaken within the parliamentary entitlements rules". Now if any laws needed a serious shake-up it would be the parliamentary entitlements rules, in the private sector you would get the sack for abusing your expense account to the degree we often see our MP's do.

MP’s do not have the right to pick and choose which rules they decide to follow.

Journalists are always telling us you have to check the source of information, you then need to verify that source independently. They also tell us that they don’t have an opinion, they just report. Yet it seems that many in the media have ‘decided’ this is a non issue, without any checking of facts at all? In all likelihood it is just arrogance from the PM’s office that they feel they are not answerable to punters and all is perfectly legal, point is, that should be verified, should it not, surely this is a simple thing to do?

When you put your hand up to represent your electorate you sign a legal document with the AEC, if you lie on that document there are legal ramifications, as there should be. The fact that maybe some of that law is outdated has nothing to do with this issue and is just a distraction. If Mr Abbott formally renounced his dual citizenship with the UK High Commission (as I am been lead to believe is the process for UK citizens) prior to 26 March 1994 when he signed his Candidate nomination for that election with the AEC as true, then all is good. There should be no issue showing us the paperwork that was involved here? I mean, there is a process and it does involve official paperwork, the sort of paperwork you do tend to keep on file.

Instead an FOI request for this information has been denied.

I don’t know about you but I find this insulting. An Australian citizen should not be denied proof of the legal status of an MP’s citizenship. There is no good reason for it, no security issue or commercial confidence issue. This FOI denial alone is what keeps this issue alive. This ‘distraction’ can quite easily disappear into the ether by providing a copy of the paperwork involved in the renouncing of UK citizenship AND a copy of the AEC Candidate Nomination form when Mr Abbot first attempted to win a seat in Parliament.

I am starting to think that when Mr Abbott promised us a “grown up” government instead of ‘Responsible Adult’ Government he actually meant he would treat us citizens like children, responding to unwanted scrutiny with that most hated parent refrain, “Because I said so...” that will drive a kid to their bedroom in fury & frustration, normally with bonus door slamming.

That is just not good enough. It is not ‘ridiculous’ to want proof and be assured that our Prime Minister - be it this one or any MP in future who aspires to the top job in our nation while Article 44(i) of the Constitution is on the books - is a ‘law-abiding’ citizen who legally deserves to be in the position of Prime Minister of this nation.

I might only be a punter but we try to teach our kids that Rulz is Rulz! Whether you are Joe Blow, Jill Dill or Prime Minister of Australia.


Bloody hard going, but you can read "Australia's Constitution" here ;-) What do you think?
Noely Neate
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Noely Neate
Talks too much on Twitter
Professional desk jockey
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