Section 44 (i) of the Australian Constitution famously reads:
"Any person who - Is under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or a citizen of a foreign power... shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives."
It of course has implications for any Jewish MPs and senators who take seriously the Zionist presumption that Israel is the state of all Jews, wherever they reside, and are entitled to automatic Israeli citizenship through Israel's Law of Return (1950).
The following news report is the first time, however, so far as I am aware, that Israel's Law of Return has been invoked in media commentary on the impact of Section 44 (i) on the eligibility of many of our parliamentarians to sit in federal parliament:
"A government citizenship hit-list suggests more than 25 Labor MPs and senators could be under a constitutional cloud because of dual nationality, as Parliament prepares for a new disclosure regime to kick in next week. The West Australian has obtained a comprehensive spreadsheet prepared by Coalition staff members, which presents research into the heritage of all sitting Labor parliamentarians [...] The document also suggests that Victorian Labor senator Kim Carr could have inadvertently obtained Israeli citizenship automatically granted to spouses under the Law of Return before 1999. It is unclear whether Senator Carr's spouse Carole Fabian holds Israeli citizenship, with the document saying the potential split allegiance 'has not been looked into'." (Coalition Government draws up hit-list of Labor pollies under dual-citizenship cloud, Sarah Martin and Nick Butterly, 25/11/17)
By drawing attention to Israel's Law of Return in this way, the Turnbull government has potentially unsheathed a two-edged sword, raising the prospect of its environment minister, Josh Frydenberg, to give but one example, coming under pressure to formally reject his 'right' under Israeli law to become a citizen of Israel.
It is worth remembering here that it was only the principled opposition of Britain's anti-Zionist Jewish establishment to the Zionist project in 1917 that ensured the inclusion of the following guarantee - "... nothing shall be done which may prejudice... or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country" - in the Balfour Declaration. What an irony then that Israel's Law of Return could conceivably prejudice the rights of Australian Jews to stand for election to Australia's federal parliament.