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


How long did Senator Eric Abetz hold dual citizenship: 16 years …?

First published August 11

Senator WHISH-WILSON (Tasmania) (13:05): The MP citizenship issue has been a significant matter of public interest in recent weeks. I was personally devastated by the news that Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters resigned from parliament over issues with dual citizenship. These two people — indeed, friends of mine — have served the party and the country with distinction and brought so much to this chamber. I’d like to pay tributes to both of them, and I certainly hope to see them back in this place one day.

Scott, Larissa and our leader Richard Di Natale have brought great credit on themselves and on the Greens in how they have dealt with this question with complete integrity, openness and grace. This is in stark contrast to the Liberal-National Party and, today, One Nation, who have announced they will refer Senator Roberts to the Court of Disputed Returns, but only after the Greens and others had forced the issue.

I came under public scrutiny over my citizenship because my parents were in Singapore when I was born, as my father was serving in the Australian Air Force during the Vietnam War. However, because of Singaporean law — where you can only become a citizen of Singapore if you have one Singaporean parent — there was no way I could have inadvertently become a Singaporean citizen. Despite this, like many in this place, I was under a lot of media and constituent pressure to publicly provide documentation on my citizenship status. So I sought advice, records and a statement from the Australian High Commission and the Singaporean High Commission and have provided this to the media.

I have been open with my documentation. I also know that Senator Di Natale has been open about his, but it has been brought to my attention that one person in this chamber has not been willing to clear up public speculation and doubts about their efforts to rid themselves of dual citizenship when they were duly first elected: Senator Eric Abetz.

We know that Eric Abetz was once a German citizen. We know that he is now no longer a German citizen. What we don’t know is whether — or how long — he sat in this chamber before he rid himself of his dual citizenship. It could’ve been anything up to 16 years. We don’t know whether he took all reasonable steps to renounce his German citizenship before he took his place in the Senate. He has previously said he would publicly release documentation, but I understand he has not done so.

The government has been very vocal in the media about Larissa and Scott. It is only fair to subject senators on the government’s side of the chamber to the same scrutiny — in fact, all senators. This is why we have moved for a general AEC audit of all sitting senators’ and MPs’ citizenship records and status. Given Labor and Liberal are disappointingly not likely to support this motion, it would then be a simple matter for Senator Abetz to clear up this issue by publicly providing the documentation about the steps he took to end his citizenship. This would be easy to do and would put him above doubt, which we all must be. I ask him to come to this chamber and do so.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Sterle): Thank you, Senator Whish-Wilson.

Senator Ian Macdonald: Mr Acting Deputy President, I want to raise a point of order. I did the previous speaker the courtesy of not interrupting him — a courtesy which, I might say, he doesn’t show to other senators. I draw your attention to standing order 193, which says senators shall not make imputations of improper motives or personal reflections upon other senators. Not only did Senator Whish-Wilson do that but, in a cowardly way, he did it when he and everyone of this chamber knows that Senator Abetz is not in the parliament this week because of his wife’s illness. I draw to your attention standing order 193. You might ask Senator Whish-Wilson to withdraw those imputations.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Macdonald, I don’t have the standing orders in front of me, but let me consult with the clerks. Senator Macdonald, I’ve reviewed section 193 and, due to the content, I will refer your point of order to the President, unless Senator Whish-Wilson wishes to make a statement.

Senator WHISH-WILSON: I do. I certainly don’t withdraw that, Acting Deputy President. I was going to suggest that you do refer it to the President. I made similar statements in the media only last week, and I knew nothing about Senator Abetz’s wife. This is a significant matter of public importance.

Senator Ian Macdonald interjecting—

Senator WHISH-WILSON: You are a grumpy old bugger.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Order! Sorry, Senator Whish-Wilson.

Senator WHISH-WILSON: I was going to ask that you refer it to the President.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: I’ve made my decision. Senator Macdonald, I will raise with the President the concern you have raised. Senator Macdonald, you have the call.

The above has been extracted from Hansard. The President of the Senate has ruled that the comments were not in breach of standing orders and as such they do not have to be withdrawn. Therefore the above speech can be published with impunity.

Getting Abetz to respond is another matter. His non-appearance – for whatever reason – is indicative of his reluctance to address this issue.

Then, he has a long track record of ducking the issue.

Will the ABC or the Mercury or the Examiner do their duty and ask the relevant questions of this most – in my view – appalling man?

*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.

EARLIER on Tasmanian Times …

Liberal senator urged to prove eligibility

All John Hawkins’ articles, including a history of his challenge to Eric Abetz in the High Court, HERE

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


  1. garrystannus@hotmail.com

    September 5, 2017 at 10:06 pm

    W. Ramanovich (#13): thanks for the comment. At first I thought I should just leave it (your comment) as the last on this thread, because … well, because it it was a useful contribution to the thread, and because I’d nothing new to add. So I didn’t make a reply. But it’s been ‘bugging me’ … you addressed me by name and I wouldn’t like you to think that I was indifferent to what you’d written. It’s bad luck/a matter for regret that you lost your citizenship without realising it when you became a naturalised Australian. Perhaps you could apply to have your German citizenship reinstated. I think it can be done, but you’d be more able than me to find out if this is so. Thank you for your comment and sorry that I didn’t reply sooner.

  2. W Ramanovich

    September 1, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    Garry Stannus.

    I did some more looking into the viability of dual citizenship with the German State and came across this :


    “Many Germans, who have been living in Australia for some time, may consider becoming an Australian citizen. And they may be encouraged by the fact that Australian citizenship law in general does not pose many hurdles to obtain dual or multiple citizenship. However, rushing to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship to apply for the Australian citizenship may end up to be a regrettable move towards integration for a German. This because according to the German Law on Citizenship anybody who applies for the grant of a foreign citizenship principally risks loosing the German citizenship (exemptions apply). To avoid the loss of the German citizenship one must principally have received a certificate of retention of the German citizenship (Beibehaltungsurkunde) prior to naturalization, grant of the foreign citizenship respectively. This certificate represents a permit to retain the German citizenship (Genehmigung zur Beibehaltung der Deutschen Staatsangehoerigkeit) and is issued by the Federal Office of Administration (Bundesverwaltungsamt) in Cologne. It needs to be applied for providing reasons for becoming an Australian as well as for retaining the German citizenship, namely ongoing links to Germany.”

    It is rather obvious that Senator Abetz when aged 16 years old in 1974 did not fulfill this requirement :
    “To avoid the loss of the German citizenship one must principally have received a certificate of retention of the German citizenship (Beibehaltungsurkunde) prior to naturalization”

    Hence he lost his German citizenship by default like I did. There is no evidence that in 1974 Senator Abetz took action to avoid German citizenship loss prior to being naturalized.

    No Retention Certificate, no dual citizenship.

    W Ramanovich

  3. Robin Charles Halton

    August 16, 2017 at 1:51 am

    John, wouldnt lose any sleep over Eric, many others appear to be in the same boat at present.

  4. garrystannus@hotmail.com

    August 12, 2017 at 2:45 pm

    John (#8): forgive me banging on about it, but I’m worried that I didn’t state my thoughts (in #6) clearly or succinctly. Please let me try and put a question to you:

    Eric Abetz, on 4Aug2017, writing in the above-mentioned blog of his, referred to his 25Oct2010 statement to the Senate, in which he had said about his letter of renunciation (26Nov1992):

    That letter, along with all the other documents, have been provided to the petitioner.

    John, you were that petitioner. Did Eric Abetz supply you with that letter (or copy) prior to his 25Oct2010 statement?


  5. William Boeder

    August 11, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    Further factum data regarding the Ta Ann tie-in with Tasmania, continue to recall that Hamed Sepawi is an associate of Senator Eric Abetz.



  6. John Hawkins

    August 11, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    Thankyou Garry #6

    I am sure that Abetz will have a copy of the document properly addressed, dated 26 November 1992 and signed by him to place before the Senate as requested by Senator W-W.

    The German Embassy in Canberra on receiving this important request that Abetz was renouncing his Citizenship as a result of a High Court case will have out of courtesy replied and Abetz will have the reply.

    This important document as the key to the matter must also be submitted.

    I ask that Abetz tenders these two documents before the Senate.

    When these two documents are received and the copy of the submitted document sent by Abetz has been forensically investigated to prove that it is not a creation made after the event, and therefore not a fake, I will believe the good Senator and retire from the fray.

    Surely Abetz that is not to much to ask?

    Or is it?

  7. William Boeder

    August 11, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    Given the history of Eric Abetz both in the Senate House and out of it, I would give more trust to a spitting Cobra than I would toward Senator Eric Abetz.
    His relationship with the bad-guys of Ta Ann.

    The Hydro Tasmania affiliate in Victoria, Alinta had engaged with Taib Mahmud (Head of State and destructor of 90% of Sarawak’s forests) of Sarawak as the consultant to build some 30 odd Hydro Dams that would flood out the lands that once housed the Sarawak native people.
    There are a great many articles available on the Internet that record dealings between this Hydro affiliate and the Internationally corrupt Taib Mahmud,
    Murders have been carried out under instruction of one of his henchman to take out the manager of all the Taib Mahmud USA real-estate acquisitions.


    I believe it to be mandatory that people understand the friends and associates of Sepawi and his Uncle Taib Mahmud.
    It is not out of order to advise the citizens of Tasmania of the association between Abetz and Hamed Sepawi, add to that the name of roly poly.

    Bad enough that Tasmania’s State government continue dealings with the nephew of Taib Mahmud, Ta Ann’s Hamed Sepawi, the major shareholder of Ta Ann here in Tasmania currently the cause for destroying a freely given promised annual quota of 300,000 tonnes of Crown Land old growth native forests consisting mainly of hardwood logs delivered to their door.

    There are other Abetz tainted dealings and undertakings that are unknown to the people of Tasmania. So far the Spitting Cobra has slept quietly most of the time though it wakes occasionally to spit its poison into the eyes of rodents that it proposes to gorge on for his dinner.

    I have subsequently had a good deep think and come to the conclusion that I would not mind a reptile as a household pet.

  8. garrystannus@hotmail.com

    August 11, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    Thanks Peter W-W for the question in the Senate, and thank John Hawkins for bringing it to Tasmanian Times. I’m sorry to largely repeat material which I have sent to the last ‘Abetz’ thread on TT, but I feel that some of it may meet some of Pete’s questions, as I read them above:

    Mr Abetz wrote in his blog [Here], (4Aug2017)

    Citizenship Claims
    Published: Friday, 04 August 2017 16:43

    Continued claims that I have not been eligible to be a member of the Australian Senate at any time throughout my political career are absurd and have been comprehensively disproven.

    I became an Australian citizen on 3 December 1974.

    Under the Australian Citizenship Act 1948 as it applied in 1974, I could not become an Australian citizen if I did not renounce my German citizenship and under section 25 of the German Nationality Act 1913, which is in force to this day, a German citizen loses their German citizenship upon acquiring a foreign citizenship.

    Given this matter was previously contested in the High Court and subsequently withdrawn I clearly have no case to answer as both the Australian and German laws in force in 1974 were very clear that a dual citizenship was not legally possible in either country in the circumstances.

    Out of an abundance of caution I further wrote to the German Government on 26 November 1992 to advise that any citizenship that I may still have had with West Germany or Germany be renounced.

    In relation to the High Court matter, I made a comprehensive statement in the Senate on 25 October 2010.

    In that blog, Mr Abetz stated that “both the Australian and German laws in force in 1974 were very clear that a dual citizenship was not legally possible in either country in the circumstances.” That expression “in the circumstances” is problematic, for (while I’m unsure as to then Australian requirements regarding dual citizenship, I am a little more certain that on meeting certain prescribed conditions, a German national could then (and now can) retain their German citizenship when taking citizenship in another country. Eric Abetz’s assurance here is not compelling. The reference to our Australian law at the time is confusing. My reading of the original 1948 Act, and of the amendments that were made to it in 1973, is that it provided for an Australian’s loss of foreign citizenship but nowhere dealt with the country-of-origin citizenship status of foreign nationals who (like Eric Abetz) took on Australian Citizenship. With regard to these matters, I am willing to accept that Eric Abetz may have misunderstood existing law at the time, just as it might be the case that I am misunderstanding it now.

    Nonetheless, Eric Abetz’s blog provides a link to a statement that he made to the Senate (25Oct2010). In that statement, he had told the Senate that he had provided John Hawkins (‘the petitioner’) with a letter (written: 26Nov1992) in which he renounced any West German or German citizenship that he “may still have..”

    Out of an abundance of caution, before nominating for the 1993 election, I wrote to the German embassy on 26 November 1992. That same article somehow suggested that that letter may not exist, that I had somehow promised to the Hobart Mercury that I would make it available to them. I never promised to the Hobart Mercury that I would make that letter available to them; I did tell them that it existed. That letter, along with all the other documents, have been provided to the petitioner. In that letter of 26 November 1992, out of an abundance of caution, I said, in part:

    Given the latest High Court ruling in relation to the possibility of dual citizenship, I write to advise that any citizenship that I may still have with West Germany or Germany is hereby renounced, and I consider myself simply to be solely an Australian citizen. In the event that anything further is required, please advise immediately so that those matters can be attended to.

  9. john hayward

    August 11, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    Fans of Eric’s soaring oratory won’t want to miss Monday’s Q&A, where he is expected to snuff out any talk of marriage equality or any other manifestation of political correctness.

    Eric may also explain how such freedom would open “Pandora’s box”. This box was actually opened ages ago, releasing sin, death, and all other nasties into the world, leaving behind only hope. Eric is clearly alarmed this last one could fall into the hands of asylum seekers. He may well reveal his plan to prevent it.

    John Hayward

  10. William Boeder

    August 10, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    Continued/ I now refer back to the Senator in his former claims of native forest logging sustainability as were given out by this Senator Abetz, of the high sustainability of the logging in this State during the most intensive period ever of clear-felling this State’s Crown Land forests has never been found to possess any remnant of supportable truth.
    Note the clamour of want to make early entry into the 365,000 hectare forest reserves still locked up for 2 further years, while up to this very moment there are no whatsoever signs that there is any sustainability as claimed by the Zombie smiling forests minister. One does tire of the deceptions practiced in this State.
    Sweeping statements that tumble from the mouths of political incumbents have a history of being far wide of the truth, therefore the claims by this State government, this Senator, then the claims of the current forests minister are certainly open to conjecture of those statements until proper validation is ascertained, then only by a credible accurate analysis by persons external to this State.
    Until such an analysis is performed their should be no more postulation given to the claims this government are speaking the indisputable truth.

    Should any forum attendee have available some knowledge or truth of any specific Abetz action having been seen or known to have contributed to the State of Tasmania, or even its people, do please add to the comments of this Abetzian article.

  11. William Boeder

    August 10, 2017 at 8:17 pm

    Senator Abetz has a history of being a difficult person to extricate the truth of his personal and political dalliances that rest on the wrong side of the cusp of acceptable conduct and loyalty to the conventions of Australia. Add to that his fervent support toward the profit seeking (yet claiming to be a non-profit-seeking religious order) “the Exclusive Brethren” that have accrued a suspiciously guilty history of engagement in schemes during Federal government elections in the attack upon those parties not at all associated with the Liberal coalition but are opposition parties in their vying for election.
    Please note that the only other memorable though disappointing achievement of this anti-the-Tasmania-people Senator known to me, was to secure some huge amount in the tens of millions per annum Federal Funding grants specific to the benefit of this controversial religious sect, the Exclusive Brethren.
    One recalls that this same person had given his all to mesmerise the people in the State of Tasmania to participate in an ill-plotted and ill-destined MIS investment gamble that caused great financial losses to many of Tasmanian people and those others living on the mainland of Australia.
    This same Senator has been knowingly involved in the Ta Ann entry into Tasmania plot which I must add has not illustrated any form of benefit to the people of Tasmania. For some considerable time I have been pursuing information of any amounts of covert money arriving from the overseas Ta Ann headquarters into Tasmania to the benefit of any particular resident knowingly engaged in the promotion of logging Tasmania’s Crown Land forests for the benefit of Ta Ann only.

    Reflecting on the above conducts plots and prejudices openly exhibited by this dour delinquent Tasmanian Senator there can be no surprise to find that a prior action of this same Senator could well have had inspired himself in his masquerading being an Australian citizen prior to 2010, yet without any factual evidence of proof.
    Further to my contentions overseas owned businesses that are known for their internationally disreputable business undertakings and identifiable corrupt business engagements (as the saying goes) a leopard cannot change its spots.
    I make no excuse for my personal claims and opinions in this comment, as historically the logging industry in this State has never been found to be free of politically motivated mismanagement which time and time again has been apparent during the past 20 odd year past disreputable activities has proven to be.
    One must understand that much of my comment is based upon the writings and the claims of the author of the book “The Rise and Fall of Gunns Ltd” that they are all based on incontrovertible facts with their valid references to support the claims revealed in this very same book. When one examines the political motivations that have sprung out of these past 20 odd years to the yet unfounded claims of sustainability, then the contention arises that not all that is spoken by this State government and the logging sector is connected to the truth……………To be continued/

  12. john hayward

    August 10, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    Some Christian fundamentalists believe that their faith alone exempts them from the strictures of both morality, and, when politically possible, legality.

    This seems to be the view of Eric’s sodality, which is currently seeking to impose an unprecedented ad hoc Claytons voting process on its effort to block the right of other people to determine whom they will marry.

    If they get away with it, forget about statutory law tripping up Eric on his citizenship, as it has his earth-bound colleagues.

    John Hayward

  13. Chris

    August 10, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    So Herrbetts dodges the issue once again.
    Think Senate ticket order.
    Think Robson Rotational Ballot.
    Think RFA when munster for Forests.
    Think Senator for Tasmania??????

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