First published May 7

In 2010 I took Senator Eric Abetz to the High Court acting as the Court of Disputed Returns over his right to sit as a dual national in the Senate.

Upon his request, in March 2010 the German Government provided Abetz with a Certificate of Renunciation – but nobody can renounce a citizenship he does not have.

Although having spent from 1994 until 2010 sitting illegally in Parliament, and despite knowing that he had renounced his German citizenship in 2010, the Senate has always ducked the issue of Abetz and his dual nationality.

If the boot was on the other foot Abetz would have personally ensured, when Leader of the Government in the Senate, that such action would surely be taken against any non-aligned senator on any pretext in order to rearrange the balance of power in favour of the Liberal Party.

Over nearly seven years I have written a series of three fully referenced articles regarding the behaviour of Senator Abetz in the Upper House of the Australian Parliament.

• Tasmanian Times:

• Tasmanian Times:

• Tasmanian Times:

These three carefully researched and fully referenced articles have elicited no comment from this legally trained and qualified Senator. One can only assume that he has found them to be factually correct.

As a Tasmanian on the electoral roll I ask all those on my list of elected Tasmanian Senators to read my three articles, and then for one Senator to table my three articles in the Senate.

Senator Abetz should then be asked some, or all, of the following pertinent questions:

• Senator Abetz:

In March 2010 you renounced your German citizenship.

1. Would you agree that a man cannot renounce a citizenship that he does not have?

2. If you do agree, did you knowingly and illegally sit in the Australian Senate as a dual national for a period of 16 years from 1994 to 2010?

• Senator Abetz: A $50,000 donation was made by the Tasmanian company Gunns Ltd to the Liberal Party immediately after you were made the Minister for Forests in 2006.

1. Did this donation influence your decision-making regarding Gunns Ltd push for a controversial pulp mill in Tasmania?

2. As the relevant Minister at the time, did this donation cause you to favour Managed Investment Schemes promoting E.nitens plantations – against an Australian Tax Office crackdown?

• Senator Abetz:

1. Why did you send two men in 2007 to my home’s front door in Chudleigh, Tasmania to warn me that it was not in my interests to continue my “vendetta” (their word) against Senator Abetz?

2. Was this because I had raised the matter of a possibly compromising Gunns’ donation of $50,000 to Prime Minister John Howard’s Liberal Party – a donation made after you were appointed Minister for Forests?

3. Do you regard such threatening behaviour as acceptable when executed by a Minister of the Crown and while being a Senator acting as a representative of the public in the Australian Parliament?

• Senator Abetz:

1. Why did you fail to identify the purchase/sale on your Senate Register of Interests of the financially rewarding block of 10 acres of land adjoining your family home on the Channel Highway near Hobart, as detailed by me in an article published in Tasmanian Times on 09/10/2010? (link above).

2. Was the purchase of this land in any way linked to the sale of an adjoining Commonwealth property?

• Senator Abetz:

1. Did you make a false declaration on your Senate Register of Interests regarding your ownership of a property at 83 Davey Street, Hobart?

• Senator Abetz:

1. Have you been investigated under s.135.4(3) of the Tax Act over the Channel Highway and Davey Street land transactions – as detailed in the Tasmanian Times’ articles I wrote, and if so, what was the outcome?

The above questions go to the heart of our democracy and its culture for they concern a Senator and his integrity. Mr Abetz’ answers to his peers in the Senate will, under privilege, give him every chance to refute or correct any misunderstandings inherent in my questions.

This is particularly important in the case of Abetz who was elected by virtue of his protected position as Number One on the Tasmanian Liberal Party Senate Ticket.

It could be suggested that his right to occupy that position rests on his answers to these questions, copies of which have been sent to each Tasmanian Senator – along with a request for a receipt.

The Honourable Eric Abetz E:
Senator Catryna Bilyk E:
Senator Carol Brown E:
Senator David Bushby E
Senator Jonathon Duniam E:
Senator Jacqui Lambie E:
Senator Nick McKim E:
The Honourable Stephen Parry E:
Senator Helen Polley E:
The Honourable Lisa Singh E:
Senator Anne Urquhart E:
Senator Peter Whish-Wilson E:

*John Hawkins was born and educated in England. He has lived in Tasmania for 13 years. He is the author of “Australian Silver 1800–1900” and “Thomas Cole and Victorian Clockmaking” and “The Hawkins Zoomorphic Collection” as well as “The Al Tajir Collection of Silver and Gold” and nearly 100 articles on the Australian Decorative Arts. He is a Past President and Life Member of The Australian Art & Antique Dealers Association. John has lived in Australia for 50 years and is 75 this year. In two of the world’s longest endurance marathons and in the only teams to ever complete these two events, he drove his four-in-hand team from Melbourne to Sydney in 1985 and from Sydney to Brisbane in 1988.


A Strategic Growth Plan for the Tasmanian Forests, Fine Timber and Wood Fibre Industry