Immigration and Border Protection

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January 02, 2019

Reports today that Neil Prakash is not a Fijian citizen, according to the Fijian Immigration Department, raise concerns about what due diligence Mr Dutton did before he announced the stripping of Prakash’s citizenship.

The Department of Home Affairs was yesterday unable to confirm whether Prakash held Fijian citizenship, despite Mr Dutton announcing the stripping of Prakash’s Australian citizenship earlier in the week.

Labor is absolutely committed to keeping Australians safe from terrorists like Prakesh, and supports stripping citizenship from Australian terrorists where they hold dual nationality. But we need to get this right.

Did Mr Dutton put the cart before the horse and announce the stripping of Prakash’s citizenship before receiving advice from his Department about whether Prakash held Fijian citizenship? And was the stripping of Prakash’s Australian citizenship brought forward to coincide with Mr Dutton’s public relations campaign to get on the front page of the major Brisbane newspaper?

Mr Dutton has serious questions to answer.

National security needs to be the highest of government priorities and its Minister must be diligent and thorough. It’s not the job of a show pony and the safety of Australians should be put ahead of Mr Dutton’s plans to get on the front page of his local newspaper or make another tilt at the Liberal Party leadership.

Mr Dutton’s comments were very clear. Prakash had his citizenship stripped because he committed serious terrorist offences. Mr Dutton must now explain what he will do about Prakash and why he announced that Prakash will lose his citizenship before he received confirmation of Prakash’s Fijian citizenship by his own Department. At a minimum he needs to fulfil the basic responsibilities of his job and talk to the Fijian Government to get the facts, something he should have done before chasing headlines.