This Thursday Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison, along with Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton stated that they intend to amend laws dealing with Australian citizens who engage in terrorist activities. The proposed legislation implies that Australians convicted of a terrorism offence "in Australia could lose Australian citizenship irrespective of the sentence they receive".
"Our changes will make it easier to strip terrorists of their Australian citizenship. Terrorists forfeit their rights to be Australians when they carry out their evil acts," the prime minister said.
One of the possible consequences of such amendments is that an Australian citizen could be left without any citizenship as "the minister will only need to be reasonably satisfied that a person would otherwise have another citizenship".
It was also announced that changes would alter the Australian Citizenship Act and the citizenship of Australian citizens fighting abroad for terrorist organizations would be revoked.
"We now need to focus attention on strengthening the citizenship loss provisions which commenced in 2015 as they relate to terrorists within Australia, in order to protect our community," Peter Dutton said.
The proposed changes would also reform the existing citizenship-status checking mechanism, so Australian authorities could "determine a person's foreign citizenship status" more effectively.
In an official media release, it was said that the new ruling would partly incorporate foreign practices related to counter-terrorism measures, the UK's Temporary Exclusion Orders in particular. This instrument would "enable authorities to delay, and then monitor and control, the return and re-entry" to Australia of its citizens if they are discovered to be foreign fighters.
"We don't want these people in our country," Scott Morrison said.
According to the legislation in force, the revoking of Australian citizenship is possible only if a terrorist offender was "sentenced to at least six years' imprisonment".
The new law is expected to be introduced within the next several weeks, according to ABC News.
Earlier in November, a terrorist attack occurred in Melbourne; it resulted in the death of one Australian citizen in addition to the attacker, and two more were wounded. After the incident, Australia's prime minister proposed a round-table on anti-extremism measures. The suggestion was rejected by the local Muslim community leaders, as they were dissatisfied with comments Morrison made after the incident.
He had said that the Muslim community's leaders have a "special responsibility" in fighting with "the radical and dangerous ideology of extremist Islam", urging them to "call this out".