Image for An open letter to the President of the Senate

Lindsay Tuffin,
The Editor,
Tas Times,

It has now become obvious that Abetz, by renouncing his German citizenship, took notice of my statement to him via Tasmanian Times on 12 January 2009 ( HERE ) that I intended to challenge his right as a dual national to nominate for and sit in the Senate at the next election.

I lodged my Petition (Document 1) filed in the High Court of Australia on the 13th September 2010. It is a reflection on the exalted opinion that Abetz has of his own importance, that as a private citizen I have had to take him all the way to the High Court to force him into producing the relevant documentation. In 2007 I made this simple request as a citizen in his electorate and it should and could have been easily answered.

Abetz waited until two days before the Directions Hearing on 22nd October 2010 in Melbourne to produce a copy of his German Government Verzichtsurkunde (Renunciation Certificate) issued by the German Government in Cologne on 9 March 2010. This certificate states that “Erich Abetz, born 25 January 1958 Stuttgart residing at Blackmans Bay has at the moment this Certificate was issued lost German citizenship through renunciation”. This makes him no longer a dual national from the 9th March 2010, and he was therefore entitled to nominate for the Senate and, when elected, to take up his seat in July 2011.

Abetz, a German by birth, retained his German Citizenship enabling the German Government “at the moment this Certificate was issued” to accept its renunciation. The Germans will not let you renounce a citizenship you do not have.

This document therefore immediately calls into question his right from 1994 to 30th June 2011 to nominate and sit as a Senator, for he was a dual national under the Constitution Section 44(i) until the 9th March 2010.

I am unable to challenge his previous elections in 1994, 1998 and 2004 under the Commonwealth Electoral Act because a petition challenging the election of a Member of the Senate has to be filed in the Court of Disputed Returns within 40 days of the date on which the writs for the applicable election have been returned. Abetz, by instigating an Act of Renunciation in 2010, has confirmed by his own actions that he was not entitled to stand for the Senate in 2004. He is, I suggest, therefore sitting in the Senate illegally under the terms of the Constitution Section 44(i) despite his efforts to hide behind Parliamentary Privilege as per his Statement to the Senate ( HERE ).

He stated to the Mercury 30th July 2010 regarding a so-called Letter of Renunciation dated 26th November 1992 (he states 1993), “I never heard anything further leaving him convinced he did not hold dual citizenship that could make his Senate nomination invalid”.

This letter extracted from Abetz by my High Court action is dated 26th November 1992.

1. It has no sender’s address, so the German authorities, should they have received the document, would have been unable to reply. If Abetz placed his address on the original why not keep a copy of this important document.

2. It is dated 26th November 1992, the day after the Sykes v Cleary case was determined by the High Court. Is it possible to believe that Abetz would have had access to this case and its details by the following day and be motivated enough to send this letter? The Election was not called until 8th February 1993.

3. It is addressed ‘The German Embassy’ with no street address for delivery. It should have been addressed to ‘The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, 119 Empire Circuit, Yarralumla ACT 2600’.

4. He gives the wrong date for his citizenship, 1975, when it is in fact 1974.

5. He mentions a “High Court Ruling” also “seeking Election to the Federal Parliament” and Citizenship. I suggest that if his letter was actually sent the German authorities would have replied, for they, above all nations are efficient, especially in matters such as these which demand a reply.

6. He gives the wrong Christian name ‘Eric’ so an Embassy computer search would not have located him.

7. The German authorities have no record of ever receiving this Abetz letter which begs the question, was it ever sent and when was it written?

His solicitors, Abetz Curtis note, that at the first Directions Hearing “he will apply to have his name changed on the record to his correct name by usage ‘Eric’ Abetz”. It is lucky that the Nomination Forms for a Senate Election are self policing, as his name is Erich on his birth certificate (1958), Certificate of Australian Citizenship (1974) and the name on his Renunciation Certificate (2010).

Abetz’s failure to declare acquisition of his Renunciation documentation, obtained by him in March 2010 except under duress, caused me to Petition the High Court when otherwise excluded. I have now withdrawn my petition and the case is closed, for Abetz has renounced his German citizenship as of 9th March 2010, so from that date, he can legally stand for election for the first time to the Senate.

I suggest that in military terminology, his behaviour would be considered unbecoming to an Officer and a Gentleman and as such he would be expected to resign his Commission. Abetz’s behaviour is not as expected from a politician and a former Minister of the Crown in the 21st Century, but only Abetz has to live with his conscience.

It is, I suggest, now up to the President of the Senate and his colleagues to act. They now know they have Senator, elected in 2006, sitting improperly in the Senate, it is not a Gentleman’s Club but exists on a basis of truth and trust and Section 44 (i) of the Constitution. His address to the Senate on this matter is recorded in Hansard.

John Hawkins

cc: Senator the Hon. John Hogg E: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Download Document 1: Hawkins Petition to the High Court:

Note: As a petitioner, on legal advice, I cannot post the original documents on Tasmanian Times. However they are available on request to the High Court and may be used in their original form by anybody not associated with the case.