Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


The net tightens … Abetz and his German Citizenship and Renunciation

First published July 28

My Petition to the High Court in 2010 is a record of the Abetz matter at that time, and it’s presented here with the more salient points highlighted in red and blue.

In 1974 Abetz was16, technically a child and below the age of consent yet one with a valid German passport. This was not handed in when he acquired Australian citizenship by naturalization. A Naturalisation certificate is not sufficient in political terms to comply with Section 44(1).

A candidate is required to write to his country of birth renouncing his second citizenship. The relevant department in that country then has to write back confirming this renunciation.

The Senators who have recently resigned did not possess this document and consequently they were to claim their pay illegally because they were not entitled to sit in the Senate under Section 44(1). If they continued to sit then they were committing a fraud against the Commonwealth by taking money under false pretences.

This is no different to accepting Centrelink money fraudulently, a matter so vigorously prosecuted by the likes of Abetz and other hard right Australian pollies.

This same law applies to Abetz for the period 1994 to 2010 as he has no valid renunciation documentation from the German government – and I believe he was well aware of this. I suggest that lawyer Abetz knowingly took public money from 1994 until he renounced his German citizenship in March 2010.

Abetz knew when he filled a casual vacancy in 1994 that he did not have the necessary paperwork.

Abetz states that he wrote to the German authorities but never received a reply. How can this be so in such an important matter?

Abetz stated to Mercury reporter Sue Neales that he would produce documents to prove this renunciation. This he did not do, and he never has.

Abetz managed to spin out this complex situation, despite my best remedial efforts, and so with the help of various Presidents of the Senate he eventually reached a safe haven in March 2010 when for the first time he was legally elected.

Under pressure, with the possibility of losing his highly paid job, and the power that went with it, Abetz was forced because of my legal challenge to legally renounce his German citizenship and to document the matter. He produced his newly-minted Renunciation Certificate on the steps of the High Court on the first day of the hearing thereby causing me to withdraw my case. Abetz had to pay his own costs.

Abetz, no country will allow you to renounce a citizenship that you do not have!

The cost of investigating all this may now fall to the Commonwealth if a Senator in the chamber will ask Abetz to make his previous status clear by producing the documentation he has always claimed to be in his possession and which permitted his legal election prior to 2010.

I thank Brandis for bringing this matter before the High Court as a challenge over Section 44 (1).

I request that the Senate joins the matter of Abetz to this challenge.

Download Petition (it’s a two-or-three-step process) …


Extracts from my petition that have a direct relevance to the Abetz matter. Attention is particularly drawn to his replies in bold type …

7. The Respondent was born Erich Abetz in Stuttgart, Germany on 25th
January 1958 a citizen of The Federal Republic of Germany. He
migrated to Australia, the youngest of five siblings, with his parents
arriving on 22nd March 1961 on the ‘Castel Felice’ in Melbourne.

8. He was issued with a German passport on 22nd July 1971 in Melbourne,
number C1674055; nationality German; his German passport was not
handed in when he became an Australian Citizen.

9. On 3rd December 1974 at Hobart the Respondent became a naturalized
Australian pursuant to Div. 3 of Pt III of the Nationality and Citizenship
Act 1948 (Cth).

10. A Commonwealth Government official wrote to the German embassy in
Canberra in 1974 advising that one Erich Abetz born January 25 1958
certificate of Citizenship No AC(G)102404 as of 3rd December 1974
became an Australian Citizen adding that Mr Abetz’s German passport
was not collected…..

12. The Tasmanian Liberal Senator, Brian Roper Archer, resigned from the
Senate on 31st January 1994. Three weeks later Erich Abetz was elected
to fill a casual Vacancy in the Senate at a joint sitting of the Tasmanian
Parliament on 22 February 1994. The Hansard record does not provide
the specific information to match all of the requirements of either the
Australian Electoral Act nor the several sections of the Australian
Constitution. The Tasmanian Parliament no longer has the paper
records including his declaration supporting the Liberal Party’s
nomination of Mr Abetz to fill the casual vacancy….

18. The Petitioner wrote to the Clerk of the Senate, Harry Evans on 14th
March 2007 for advice as to what actions were available and how to
proceed, he replied on 15th March 2007:
“When a senator is returned or appointed by a state parliament to fill
a vacancy, the Senate does not conduct any check to determine that the
senator is qualified. Ensuring that they are qualified is the
responsibility of individual senators. …..

If you think that any senator may not be qualified, you therefore have
the options of asking the Senate to consider whether it should make a
reference to the Court or commencing an action under section 46. As
the question of a senator’s citizenship should be easily able to be
resolved, perhaps the best course is simply to call
upon the senator to disclose evidence of citizenship.”

19. It was brought to the attention of the Respondent by the Petitioner in a
letter 16th March 2007 that he might not be qualified to sit in the Senate
pursuant to s44(i) of the Constitution. The Petitioner requested Senator
Abetz to provide documentation to prove renunciation of his German
citizenship, none was received.

21. The Respondent has sat knowingly in the Parliament since filling a
casual vacancy in 1994, being elected 1998 and 2004.

22. The German Embassy previously would not confirm the citizenship
status of Senator Abetz on privacy grounds.

23…..As a consequence of the recommendations of the House of
representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional
Affairs in relation to section 44(i) of the Constitution, the Department
of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA)
maintains a database on the procedures for renunciation of other
citizenship in various countries. The following information on
renunciation procedures is drawn from the DIMIA database and is
provided to assist intending candidates who hold further citizenship(s)
in addition to their Australian citizenship.
German citizenship may be renounced with the approval of the
Ministry of Interior: Persons should contact the Embassy of Germany
in Canberra.”

24. The matter of the status of the Respondent to sit has been placed before
the Senate on several occasions. The Presidents have refused to act, and
therefore I suggest, failed to observe the Constitution.
Your response as President is clearly a refusal to act, by declining to
exercise the authority vested in your office under the Constitution,
which carries with it a responsibility to bring the matter to the
attention of the Senate. As a result, the Senate by failing to consider the
issue of qualifications in accordance with its obligations under section
44 alters the issue to one of failure to observe the Constitution rather
than an investigation into the qualifications of a Senator.
I shall now refer the matter to the High Court, I shall state in this
referral that I am not happy when Senators are protected by their
President from the people they are supposed to represent. Your
dereliction of duty in this matter is such that I will ask the High Court
to call you to account for failing to act in accordance with the
Constitution which you are bound, through your position as President
to protect.

30. The High Court Registry advised the Petitioner by letters dated 10th
November and 18th December 2008 that such a “petition challenging
the validity of any election” could only be made “within 40 days of the
return of the writ” and “There is no provision for extending the time.”

31. The Respondent states in an interview reported in the Hobart Mercury
published Friday, 30th July 2010 that he had become the President of
the Tasmanian Liberal Party in 1990 and that on standing he wrote to
the German Embassy in 1993
“renouncing any lingering claims to
German citizenship he might have. I renounced my German citizenship in that letter, full stop.”

32. In an interview published in the Mercury, Friday 30th July 2010 Senator Abetz said
“that when he first became an Australian Citizen inHobart in 1974, aged 16, he was told the
move automatically cancelled his previous German Citizenship. He says he also has documents
to prove he took further steps to ensure his German citizenship had been completely
relinquished before becoming a Senator in 1994.”
No evidence of these “further steps”
for the filling of this casual vacancy have been provided to the Petitioner.

33. The Respondent admits in the article that “he did not hear anything
further leaving him convinced he did not hold dual citizenship.”

38. The Respondent commences in the 1998 form with his given name as
Eric, his date of birth, which is the 25th of the month, the entry for the
month and year are not completed, further he does not provide a place
of birth and giving his date of citizenship as the 11/11/74 (Remembrance
Day) which is incorrect. He ticks the box ‘I am capable of being chosen
and sitting as a Senator (because I am not disqualified by virtue of
Section 44 of the Constitution)’.

40. The Respondent’s fourth completed nomination form is for the election
of 2004 under which he currently sits in the Parliament. The
Respondent declared his given name as Eric, his occupation as
Minister/Senator, this is his rank, he is in fact a Member of Parliament.
No number for his citizenship is given. The number given T2078616
written above the box is in another hand, uninitialled, it is not the
Respondent’s citizenship number. The Date of citizenship is now correct
but different from what was declared in 1998.

42. A perusal of these nomination forms illustrates significant variations in
the Respondents particulars to validly complete a nomination form for
the Australian Senate.

43. Further the 2004 nomination form would suggest that this form was
altered by persons unknown after registration.

EARLIER on Tasmanian Times …

Ludlam and Abetz … the Goose and the Gander

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. Richard Kopf

    August 1, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    Abetz gained enormous power in Australia because the Tasmanian party places him #1 on their Senate ticket. I doubt many Tasmanian or Australian citizens would vote for him if he ran for a seat in the House of Reps.

    He is entrenched it seems. However, I am an optimist.

    Peter Slipper, a lawyer, will soon be a resident in Tasmania and may join the Liberal Party here. As a lawyer he may delve closely into Erich’s situation. Who knows? He might even get Erich’s place on the State senate ticket. There again, the pair might just go and have a few beers together, as old friends, and discuss Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership qualities.

  2. Steve

    July 30, 2017 at 11:47 am

    #23; I would think that would be a very good solution Peter. Idiots like Brandis should pull their head in and realise that the true offender here is the AEC for not checking properly.
    I appreciate where John Hawkins is coming from on this matter but it was effectively ended back in 2010. All that is really possible now is to point out the hypocrisy of the situation.
    Senators who find themselves unintentionally in this position should be given sixty days to get their house in order. Obviously different for intentional duplicity.

  3. Peter Bright

    July 30, 2017 at 2:30 am

    I’m wondering if the best solution is to forgive inadvertent transgressions such as those of the two federal Green senators, recognise that Australia is at fault for failing to do its own really thorough checking of an applicant’s claims, and restore all rights and roles where there is no proof of guile.

    Australia has vastly more power than individuals to check things out internationally, and it didn’t even try.

  4. John Hawkins

    July 30, 2017 at 1:10 am


    Garry Stannus thankyou for that very good and thoughtful reply … these matters take a lot of time and effort.

    Why didnt the German Government … is correct. This is my mistake.

    If Abetz still has a valid copy of the 1993/4 letter renouncing his German Citizenship addressed to the German Embassy then he could surely have supplied it again to the German authorities and they could easily have acknowledged this previous renunciation and validated it by a positive reply.

    There will be correspondence over this matter which was only resolved by a proper Renunciation Certificate in March 2010.

    Scot free … His 1993/4 renunciation is basically his word against the world and why would he bother to even make the effort when he was fully convinced of his Renunciation by Naturalisation in 1974.

    Did he ever travel on his German passport?

    What happened to it?

    Can we see it?

    Abetz never likes answering questions so we shall probably never know unless he is grilled in the Senate by a Senator with a good mind and an interest in these matters.

    Then he will be forced to give a proper account of his behaviour.

    The Examiner, the Mercury and Compton of the ABC all seem content to give Abetz a free ride.


    For example it appears that he lied to Sue Neales over his passport … surely that would be a good starting point for a Mercury reporter.

    They lost their leading light as a result of political pressure … this was indeed a sad day for Tasmania.

  5. Steve

    July 30, 2017 at 12:04 am

    #20; That’s a great question Claire. I would think if this argument got pushed to the legal extremities, the entire Australian Government might have to be placed under administration.
    Administrator appointed from the old country. Wouldn’t that give John Kerr a chuckle!

  6. Claire Gilmour

    July 29, 2017 at 10:45 pm

    What happens to the votes given to the dual citizens/standing pollie reps on a vote ticket flowing down to the incumbent or person voted in on the back of? Are those votes still valid? Is the person voted in still legally a government rep when their votes were garnered from votes to a person with dual citizenship?

    Is the current Australian government actually legal?

  7. Russell

    July 29, 2017 at 9:20 pm

    Re #17
    He’s a Barrister ffs! He knew damn well.

  8. Russell

    July 29, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    Re #14
    Why not? Others seem like it will happen to them? It’s in the Constitution that he was not eligible to stand for election.

    Re #15
    So Trev, do you think politicians should be able to commit (alleged) crimes while the rest of the population can’t?

    Or should it just be allowable for your pin-up boy?


  9. Steve

    July 29, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    #16; Fair comment John. That’s why I said “the best that could be hoped for”. I don’t see it as even a remote possibility unless it could be proven that he’d deliberately misled parliament or committed some obvious crime.

  10. john hayward

    July 29, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    #14, Steve. How do you impose “disgrace” on someone who doesn’t blush at imprisoning refugees in breach of the Oz Government’s own international undertakings?

    As these breaches were ex post facto of the breached conventions, why shouldn’t the Nasty Party wear the consequences the same way they expect the general population to wear the austerity measures they impose to pay for their own tax breaks?

    John Hayward

  11. TGC

    July 29, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    #13 raises very powerful and convincing arguments to support that Senator Abetz be stripped of all his ‘entitlements’ #13 should take this case to the High Court and should call upon every loyal TT contributor to support the case financially!

  12. Steve

    July 29, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    #13; Nice thoughts Russell but in reality, the best that could be hoped for would be that he would resign in disgrace.
    He still did the work, put in the hours. You can’t claw back seventeen years worth of remuneration because the AEC didn’t do their job properly. Mind you, just think of the implications if he was deemed to have not been eligible to sit. Would every piece of legislation he voted on in those years have to be re-visited? Any laws enacted on the strength of his vote (assuming his vote decided the matter), might be able to be challenged? Could then court appeals be based on this? What a mess!

  13. Russell

    July 29, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    The only valid point really is that Erich Abetz was indeed a dual citizen and illegally sat as a Member of Parliament for many years until he eventually renounced his German citizenship. in my view.

    He was a Barrister and Solicitor before he enetered politics, so he knew the Law of the Land, … This makes him even more guilty than someone without legal qualifications and he should be made an example of.

    I believe he must be forced to pay back all the monies, superannuation and perks he illegally gained during that time, with interest, and banned from all political activities forever.

    And surely the AEC could/should do a proper investigation of every one of the nominees before they are allowed to stand for election? Surely!


  14. Mathew

    July 29, 2017 at 3:45 am

    John Hawkins clearly seems to be ahead on points.

    He has thrown some mighty punches.

    Will it go the full number of rounds?

    I feel the Liberal Potty must be worried.

  15. Luigi

    July 28, 2017 at 10:30 pm

    “Abetz should bless me for forcing him into renouncing his citizenship in 2010 or he would by now be out on his ear.”

    You are a good man, John. You should expect a case of the finest Tassie bubbly for Christmas from Eric. 🙂

  16. john hayward

    July 28, 2017 at 9:09 pm

    Though my surprise at any judicial decision has greatly decreased with exposure to actuality, the 40 day limitation on challenges seemed a bit odd for a civil matter spanning 14 years.

    If the 40 day limitation was determined as a judicial discretion in a challenge to a conservative major party pollie, it’s what you would expect from a generally conservative profession. If it seemed to contravene jurisprudence to aid such a politician, that’s also what you would expect .

    John Hayward

  17. garrystannus@hotmail.com

    July 28, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    You ask: Then most importantly why was he issued with a Renunciation Certificate in 2010 by the German Government when he had no citizenship to renounce? The answer that comes to mind is simply that he ‘just wanted to make sure’ and that because (as he said/claimed) he’d never heard anything back from Germany after writing in 1993, he must have felt it wise (in the face of your criticism/questions to make sure that the cancellation of his German citizenship had indeed occurred.

    It’s a fair question that you ask about the 2010 Renunciation Certificate, John, and I also have had in my mind Steve’s comment (#6) which he also put earlier, in the preceding article/thread. It could indicate that in Mr Abetz’s mind he knew he was still a citizen and thought he’d better do something about it, or it could mean that though he believed it had lapsed in 1974 and knew that he’d written about it in 1993, he played safe and again contacted a German embassy(?)

    I haven’t got enough time to get things clear in my mind about Renunciation, but from my reading so far, it seems to me that renunciation is (as you imply) related to those who have dual citizenship. Obviously I lack knowledge of the way that things are handled here or in Germany, but must ask if it is at all possible that Germany would have issued a renunciation certificate for a former citizen whose citizenship had already lapsed, but who had again written to ensure his former citizenship was definitely defunct. On the other hand … perhaps after becoming an Aussie, Mr Abetz reapplied for German citizenship and still held it while sitting in the Senate.

    Why did the German government just confirm his loss of citizenship with a simple letter to that effect as requested in 1994?
    A: I’m not sure what you mean by this question. Did you mean ‘Why didn’t…?’

    Abetz will have correspondence on this which he must produce for that would have been his preferred option.
    A: Not sure again what you mean.

    Section 44 requires written proof from the government of a dual national of his renunciation.
    A: do you mean Section 44 of the Constitution? If so, I don’t see where renunciation is mentioned.

    Abetz hopped into a casual vacancy without thinking in 1994 and I suggest that he lived the lie until 2010.
    A: Perhaps it was without thinking, but he had stood the previous year, missed out, and 11 months later was able to fill a casual vacancy.

    Abetz must not be allowed to get away with this scot free while others fall by the wayside.
    A: If he was a German citizen when you say he was, then I agree.

    Why because he had no proof?
    A: ?

    Abetz should bless me for forcing him into renouncing his citizenship in 2010 or he would by now be out on his ear.
    A: Don’t hold your breath on that one, John! (smile!)

    PS: a couple of things that I’ve nearly overlooked:
    1.. For a German, dual citizenship (keeping your German citizenship when becoming a citizen of another country, is possible, but must be applied for in advance – it doesn’t happen by accident.
    2. In the Sue Neales interview, Eric Abetz is reported as saying that “He said he had never held a German passport or European passport“. This is at odds with #8 of your Petition: “8. He was issued with a German passport on 22nd July 1971 in Melbourne, number C1674055; nationality German; his German passport was not handed in when he became an Australian Citizen.

  18. garrystannus@hotmail.com

    July 28, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    Sorry John (#5): I don’t know why Eric Abetz appears not to have returned his German passport. Was there a requirement under German law that he should have done so when he became an Australian citizen in Dec 1974? Similarly, did Australian law require him to hand in his German passport? I’ve had a look at the archived(?) Nationality and Citizenship Act (1948) [Here] but I see nothing in Div. 3 of Part III which then required passport surrender. Same too with it when, under Gough Whitlam, it was renamed the Australian Citizenship Act 1948. Interestingly, until then, Div. 4 of that Part of the original Act provided for the same type of automatic loss of citizenship (upon voluntarily choosing to become a citizen of another country) as I have proposed (#4) still exists in Germany.

    In reply to your … “Has it been cancelled: if so when was it cancelled and will Abetz produce it?” … and in my ignorance I ask was there some legal reason why his German passport should have been cancelled?

    Furthermore, is there an assumption that this passport question which interests you and others (including myself) can throw light on the question of whether Eric Abetz held German citizenship while he was a member of the Australian Senate. If it is established that Mr Abetz held a German passport while he sat in the Senate, it seems equally possible to me that, that having such a passport does not establish that he held German citizenship. What would the production of a passport issued to Mr Abetz in 1971 allow us to conclude?

    In the [Tas_Times_Abetz_27_July_2017.docx: Here]
    which accompanies your article, I read “that when he first became an Australian Citizen in Hobart in 1974, aged 16, he was told the move automatically cancelled his previous German Citizenship. He says he also has documents to prove he took further steps to ensure his German citizenship had been completely relinquished before becoming a Senator in 1994.”

    This ‘automatically cancelled’ account fits with what I found and stated in my (#4) comment. You write, John, that he has not provided you (the Petitioner) with evidence of the further steps that he claimed to have taken (Mercury interview 30Jul2010) So I’ve had a look at that article just now and I will list a number of points in it which warrant comment:
    -in the article the Sue Neales wrote that he promised to provide the Mercury with a carbon copy of a letter renouncing his citizenship sent to the German embassy in 1993. [I wonder if he did in fact provide that carbon copy.]
    -“He says he also has documents to prove he took further steps to ensure his German citizenship had been completely relinquished before becoming a senator in 1994.” … in the article he is reported to have said that he wrote to the German embassy in 1993, renouncing any lingering claims to German citizenship he might have.

    “I renounced my German citizenship in that letter, full stop,” Senator Abetz said last night.

    “That letter said that I understood my German citizenship had been forfeited back in 1974 when I became an Australian citizen, but that they should let me know if there was anything further that I needed to do.”

    I’m inclined to accept that Abetz did take steps to ensure that his citizenship had been forfeited when he became an Australian citizen and before he entered the Senate in 1994, though admittedly, I’m not sure that I’m wise to do so. For example, it seems that he told Sue Neales that on becoming president of the Tasmanian Liberal Party in 1990 and first standing for the Senate in 1993, that he had taken further precautions to ensure his nomination did not contravene Australian law. Did these ‘further precautions’ occur during 1993? He stood for election in 13Mar1993. Did the further precautions occur before or after that date. He wasn’t successful at that election but filled a vacancy in February of the next year, 1994. The use of the work ‘further’ is interesting, as I haven’t seen a record of earlier attempts to ensure that his German citizenship had been cancelled.

  19. Simon Warriner

    July 28, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    I think a more pointed question is “on what basis did the German Government see fit to provide confirmation of the renunciation of Abetz’s German citizenship.”

    The exact wording of the German Government’s contribution to this matter should make that point clear.

    Is it available, Mr Hawkins?

  20. Steve

    July 28, 2017 at 12:28 am

    #4; Very valid points Garry, however I would refer back to what has actually happened.
    John Hawkins issued a legal challenge. Erich Abetz responded to this by renouncing his German citizenship. This renunciation quashed the challenge.
    The question remains though, as to how someone renounces something they don’t have? Logically, following on from the former question, why would anyone, considering they ended up paying expenses anyway, bother taking the renunciation path if they were comfortable in their position?
    If I were an Erich Abetz, comfortable in my senate position and faced by an annoying Hawkins mosquito; I’d have let him run up expenses, bang his head against a wall of security of position and generally ignore the whole thing apart from sign off on the occasional legal bill of expenses, to be eventually forwarded to the plaintiff.
    The fact it didn’t work out that way is very revealing.

  21. John Hawkins

    July 28, 2017 at 12:12 am

    Garry why then did Abetz not surrender his passport in 1994, no C1674055 see point 10 above?

    Has it been cancelled: if so when was it cancelled and will Abetz produce it?

    Then most importantly why was he issued with a Renunciation Certificate in 2010 by the German Government when he had no citizenship to renounce?

    Why did the German government just confirm his loss of citizenship with a simple letter to that effect as requested in 1994?

    Abetz will have correspondence on this which he must produce for that would have been his preferred option.

    Section 44 requires written proof from the government of a dual national of his renunciation.

    Abetz hopped into a casual vacancy without thinking in 1994 and I suggest that he lived the lie until 2010.

    Abetz must not be allowed to get away with this scot free while others fall by the wayside.

    Why because he had no proof?

    Abetz should bless me for forcing him into renouncing his citizenship in 2010 or he would by now be out on his ear.

  22. garrystannus@hotmail.com

    July 27, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    German nationality law was changed in 1999, effective at the beginning of 2000. It provides, as I understand it, for the automatic loss of German citizenship if a German citizen becomes a citizen of another country. There are exceptions to this, and a German – on application – can keep German citizenship while becoming a citizen of another country. Some reasons under which such dual nationality may be granted include when one owns property in Germany or when one is responsible for the care of people such as parents.

    That is the current German law regarding dual citizenship, as I understand it. In any case, it is not applicable in the case of Eric Abetz, since (according to John Hawkins) he became an Australian citizen at an earlier date, on 3Dec1974. So it is necessary to ascertain what relevant German citizenship law applied in 1974. German nationality (according to the following Wikipedia article at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_nationality_law ) was established first in 22July1913 with the Nationality Law of the German Empire and States. It was amended by the Third Reich in 1934 but with the Allied occupation, restored to the 1913 form and remained in force till 1999.

    The following link provides access to a translated version of the 1913 law: https://www.jstor.org/stable/2212311?seq=8#page_scan_tab_contents . Pages 217-227 provide an interesting view of German nationality law prior to WWI. Page 219 (section 10) of the document introduces the concept of losing citizenship by expatriation. Section 17 lists the 6 ways in which citizenship can be lost:

    1. By expatriation (sections 18 to 24);
    2. By the acquisition of foreign citizenship (section 25);
    3. By non-performance of military duty (sections 26 and 29);
    4. By decision of the authorities (section 27 to 29);
    5. In the case of an illegitimate child, by such a legitimatization by a citizen of another Federal State or by a foreigner as is effective under German law; and
    6. In the case of a German woman, by marriage with the citizen of another Federal State or with a foreigner.

    Sections 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 speak of expatriation being available to German citizens in certain cases by application. Section 23 notes that for expatriation to become effective in those cases, an expatriation certificate must be issued and section 24 provides for the certificate to lapse after one year if the applicant is still living in Germany. [for the sake of clarity, I am using the present tense in this account. Please remember that this law was superceded on 1Jan2000. -gfs]

    However, section 25 introduces the concept of loss of citizenship as being distinct apparently from expatriation-by-application (i.e. voluntarily surrendering one’s citizenship). There is no mention in the substantive first part of section 25 of such loss being as a result of an ‘application’ nor of a loss of citizenship being dependant on the issuance of a certificate:

    A German who has neither his residence nor permanent abode in Germany loses his citizenship on acquiring foreign citizenship, provided the foreign citizenship is acquired as a result of his own application therefor or the application of the husband or legal representative; but in the case of a wife or one having a legal representation, only when the conditions exist under which expatriation may be applied for according to [sections] 18 and 19.

    Citizenship is not lost by one who before acquiring foreign citizenship has secured on application the written consent of the competent authorities of his home State to retain his citizenship. Before this consent is given, the German consul is to be heard.

    The Imperial Chancellor may order, with the consent of the Federal Council, that persons who desire to acquire citizenship in a specified foreign country, may not be granted the consent provided for in paragraph 2.

    So it seems to me that the system which apparently prevailed after WWII, including 1974 when it seems Erich Abetz became an Australian citizen, provided for the loss (without application) of citizenship by any German citizen who took up citizenship in a foreign country such as Australia. In this regard, the German law that apparently prevailed then is quite similar to that which prevails now in Germany and under which citizenship is described as being automatically lost. According to this interpretation, when Eric Abetz became an Australian citizen in 1974, he automatically lost his German citizenship.

  23. Steven Kellett

    July 27, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    I disagree it is akin to receiving centrelink fraudulently. They have done the work and earnt the money sitting on committees etc. You do nothing to earn centrelink.

  24. Luigi

    July 27, 2017 at 9:13 pm

    We need to watch the High Court in its deliberation on Canavan. With a bit of luck, the Court will apply some effort to writing definitive “reasonable person” guidelines that apply to everyone. A narrow “Canavan only” decision will be unhelpful.

    If the Court decides that a person who ought to have known that they might have some foreign nationality, also ought to have taken all reasonable steps to renounce that BEFORE seeking election to parliament, Eric is in a bit of strife.

    Canavan is looking safe – it’s his Mum’s fault. Roberts is in strife because he’s a dunce. The Greens Senators might get a reprieve if they’re lucky. At least they have displayed some integrity.

    And speaking of Roberts: if Tony Abbott can produce a document proving his renunciation of Brit citizenship, why can’t Roberts?

  25. john hayward

    July 27, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    The seemingly inexplicable failure of our legal system to deal with the Abetz issue could be illuminated in an article by George Monbiot in the Guardian Weekly of 28/7/17.

    Monbiot introduces us to a now deceased US political theorist named James Buchanan, winner of a 1986 Nobel prize for economics, who wrote a book called “The limits of Liberty” in which he champions what sounds like the dictatorship of the plutocracy, advocating a stealthy imposition of austerity, monetary restraint, deregulation, the destruction of trade unions, and the abolition of social security.

    Buchanan, an advisor to Pinochet, is reportedly an idol to the Koch brothers and doubtless to devotees of the extreme right stealthy enough to style themselves as “Liberals” or “libertarians”, which would surely include some familiar names starting with “A”.

    Whether you are a fan of banality or of evil, there may be something in this for you.

    John Hayward

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