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 Report 7

Citizenship Review and Appeals System, 1980

Summary of the report

The report was transmitted to the Government on 13 June 1980, and tabled in the Parliament on 29 October 1981.

The report contains recommendations on the first part of the Council's examination of immigration and citizenship decisions.

The Council found that much of the legislation considered did not involve decision-making powers calling for review rights. However, it recommended that jurisdiction should be vested in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal ('AAT') in respect of decisions under all but: expressly excluded sections of the Australian Citizenship Act 1948; decisions under certain regulations of the Australian Citizenship Regulations; and, decisions under one section of the Aliens Act 1974. It also considered that the Immigration (Guardianship of Children) Act 1946 should be referred to the Family Law Council or the Law Reform Commission, for inquiry.

Response to the report

The Council's report was substantially implemented.

On 6 May 1982, the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs ('Minister') announced that it was intended to confer upon the AAT jurisdiction to review decisions refusing to grant citizenship and decisions depriving a person of citizenship.

The Australian Citizenship Amendment Act 1984 (assented to on 25 October 1984) provided for review by the AAT of certain decisions of the Minister, including decisions: refusing applications for the grant of citizenship; refusing applications of stateless persons to be registered as citizens; refusing to register declarations renouncing citizenship; refusing to register declarations of persons wishing to resume citizenship; depriving persons of citizenship; and, refusing to amend certificates. That Act also repealed sections 39 and 40 of the Australian Citizenship Act 1948, as they were inconsistent with the provision of external appeal.

The Australian Citizenship Regulations (Amendment) 1984 implemented all relevant recommendations of the Council relating to the Regulations. They provided for AAT review of decisions of the Minister as to registration of a protected person, and decisions of the Minister or an authorised person as to cancellation of entries made on the bases of false information in the Register of Citizenship by Descent.