Jacinda Ardern yesterday slammed Scott Morrison for “unilaterally” revoking the citizenship of an Australia-NZ dual national accused of involvement with ISIS. This is something that Liberal government legislation from 2015 allows to be done by ministerial decree, without relying on judicial due process.
The dual-national in question – a 26 year-old woman – left NZ and resided in Australia since the age of 6. She departed for the Middle East from Australia and travelled on an Australian passport.
The woman was arrested by Turkish authorities on Monday while attempting to cross into Turkey from Syria. Turkey identified the woman as part of Islamic State and she has been known to Australian and New Zealand police and Interpol for years.
Three New Zealand nationals trying to enter our country illegally from Syria were caught by our border guards in Hatay’s Reyhanlı district. A 26-year-old woman named S.A. among those caught was identified as a DAESH terrorist wanted with a ‘blue notice’. https://t.co/9AvTuIRbGp
— T.C. Millî Savunma Bakanlığı (@tcsavunma) February 15, 2021
The NZ government is now left to deal with the woman, who reportedly has two young children. “Our very strong view on behalf of New Zealand and New Zealanders is that this individual was clearly most appropriately dealt with by Australia,” Ardern said firmly.
Ardern also said that the woman had been the subject of prime ministerial discussions for some time. Ardern revealed she had previously “asked [Morrison] that we work together on resolving that issue.”
“I was then informed in the following year,” she continued, “that Australia had unilaterally revoked the citizenship of the individual. If the shoe were on the other foot, we would take responsibility. That would be the right thing to do, and I ask of Australia that they do the same.”
“New Zealand, frankly, is tired of having Australia export its problems, but now, there are two children involved. And so we have to resolve this issue with the interests of those children in mind,” pointing out that it wasn’t their choice to be born in a war zone.
Strikingly, Ardern also revealed that she had warned the Australian government that she would speak out strongly on this issue were it ever to become public. This makes Morrison’s comments in response yesterday afternoon even more vapid.
Despite being well aware the issue would be raised publicly, Morrison simply said that Australians would not want “terrorists enjoying the privilege of Australian citizenship.” Our prime minister completely eschewed Ardern’s points about the interests of the young children and the childishness of a “race to revoke citizenship” of dual nationals.
Evidently, the prime minister calculates that “the right thing to do,” to use Ardern’s words, is not something the Australian people are particularly fussed about.
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