Dual Citizenships – Flags of Convenience?

August 15, 2017 Australia , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , UK

Reuters photo

 

By

Hazel Speed

 

I am, it has to be said, rather old school patriotic, as a Subject of Her Britannic Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and by association thereto, in modern parlance, Citizen of The United Kingdom/Great Britain.

Although I have lived for a few years in a Commonwealth Country, I did not seek to apply for dual citizenship as I resided there in my younger years for the experience and would be returning to England.

Even more importantly to myself, I would feel some type of disloyalty to my own Country if I applied for dual citizenship anywhere else.  The ancient laws of treason were initiated for a variety of sound reasons and were the yardstick in those days to value loyalty.

BBC TV’s coverage of ‘The Last Night of The Proms’ typifies loyalty of the heart even to this day, when we honour words which we sing to the moving music of English Composer Sir Edward Elgar, ‘Land of hope and glory’ which is why many object when they see this music being usurped for other trivial purposes in one particular country – do they not read the accompanying lyrics!

Reverting to the Commonwealth country where I lived for a while, it had a large number of ‘ex-pats’ who ended up undecided which country they wished to reside in, as their heart remained in the UK but their heads were keeping them in the Commonwealth country. Inevitably, they then had families who grew up and married in that new country, then grandchildren were born, etc.

In olden times, especially regarding military personnel serving abroad, along with wives and any family (though often children of appropriate age were placed in English Boarding Schools back in England), then if any further children were born to the family living abroad, their citizenship was always taken to be that of their father’s place of birth, i.e. If English/British.  Also if Scottish, Welsh, N. Ireland/British.  That said, one wonders if the name of the overseas country appeared on a birth certificate, and one can envisage vast problems if so.

We can see the pragmatism in all this, though I must add that such rules morph throughout time.  I speak herein as it relates to a key point for the purpose of this article from a historic perspective ‘in principle.’

There are some intriguing lateral anomalies in that from an episode of the TV series MASH (South Korea based), I learned that whilst British and other countries honoured citizenship of any illegitimate children born to serving personnel overseas, the Americans did not, and such babies had to be put in a sanctuary of sorts via local monks, as even South Korean orphanages could not protect the offspring from taunting and abuse being of mixed parentage.

Shipping has a flag of convenience to facilitate ships accessing foreign ports and internationally shipping routes.  I can fully understand there are many humanitarian needs why ordinary or dual citizenship is needed or chosen.  None of us know what the future may bring.  Although, it is quite another thing completely to acquire dual citizenship for any unworthy reasons.

Against the above thumbnail sketch a surprising dilemma has struck the Australian Government, in that it has emerged that their Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, is, apparently, a person of dual citizenship (whether it was known or not before).

His father was born in New Zealand and moved to Australia 1947.  Mr Joyce was born in New South Wales 1967, in a town called Tamworth.

Apparently, we are told, that under New Zealand Law, a child born to a New Zealand National is automatically given Citizenship.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s Government may be brought down by this matter as under Section 44 (rules which cover Disqualification), it infers therein that a person holding dual citizenship with another country thereby is incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a Senator, or a member of the House of Representatives.  It quotes reasons of undue influence.

This matter is now being taken to the High Court, and the obvious comments are being made, specifically and generally, that half of all Australians are born of foreign parentage.

England used to ship out convicts to Australia and sadly, during the last century, some scandalous stories emerged how children were also similarly despatched, from existing families without their knowledge or consent, and actual orphans.  It blighted their lives.

The world is fast becoming less concerned with issues of citizenship, and ironically, despite the UK coming out of association with the EU and its policy of free movement of peoples between ‘EU countries,’ it is inevitably going to happen by another way in the fullness of time via demographics worldwide.

Our hearts were all stirred by the image of the man carrying the dead young boy who, along with other relatives, drowned in an attempt to migrate from horrors in his own land, but was at the mercy of those who provided unsuitable means to cross the waters, as all they were concerned with was making quick blood money.

When seeing that photograph, I recalled the words of Edith Cavell – Patriotism isn’t enough.

Yes indeed.

 

 

 

 

Hazel Speed

Photo (c) Hazel Speed – used by kind permision to Tuck Magazine

Hazel Speed is a Philosopher, Writer, and Artist with various creative projects at differing stages of development. Her flaship project is an animation which has produced a film short: www.thepinkprofessor.com. She has also written an E-novel, ‘Just Suppose…!‘ which is available via the attached link.

Art sites: www.candystoreart.comwww.terrificart.comwww.artbadges.co.uk

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