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NearlyTheNews @NearlyTheNews
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1. Okay #auspol, here comes the big #s44 #citizenship drop. Someone will have to bring this up, and actually someone who should know better already has. Let’s get some height first, survey the terrain and identify the targets.
2. On Sunday I listed the 15 lower house MPs I believe most likely to be headed out the door because they’re dual citizens. I could add about ten more, the tap never stops running, but for now this thread reviews the cases of one category of MP.
3. Either now, or later, you’ll ask yourself “who is this cassowary and how did he find out all this stuff?” Easy: I looked. I’ve spent nearly 100 hours on this. Also, I’m pretty good at patterns and analysis. I used to work as a journalist and in humanitarian relief.
4. I’ve written thousands of articles, a dozen annual reports and edited magazines on war crimes, land mines and natural disasters. I produced a report that formed the basis of a $300m fundraising exercise. The worst job I ever had was reporting for the UN on child sex crimes.
5. Twelve years, across Asia, Europe and the Middle East. I had to do deals with war criminals. A couple of mates have been killed – one was ambushed in the Khyber Pass, another was blown up in Iraq. I once drove 200m in reverse down a mountain road to get away from a road block.
6.Four hotels/guesthouses I’ve stayed at in Pakistan, Jordan and Afghanistan have been attacked by suicide bombers (after I was there); I felt uneasy at three of them when I stayed, because they were exposed and lots of foreigners were present.
7. I’ve still got the PTSD heightened awareness thing, which can be helpful. In the last 12 months I’ve felt the prickles three times. I refused to walk down Barcelona’s La Rambla in July. I refused to walk down Bourke Street in Melbourne during the Boxing Day sales last year.
8. The third occasion was in Paris, at Les Halles which is a huge underground shopping centre. The entrances, like a lot of places these days, were guarded by soldiers, but these guys were on the balls of their feet and scanning the crowd.
9. Another thing, I see patterns that aren’t obvious to other people. I got out of the UN in 2002, because I could see that aid work was going to get more dangerous as we worked more closely with the military. I’ve always felt safer when I’m not surrounded by armed men.
10. Bullshit? Okay, if you say so. I’m only waving my credentials so you’ll realise that I’m not pulling this out of my fundament. As to why the media hasn’t published this, ask them yourselves. I’ve got a couple of theories.
11. Journalism is a dying art, and pissing off powerful people is a great way to lose your job. Push politicians too hard and you’ll lose the ability to do your job. At least, that’s what journalists tell themselves when they sit on “gossip”.
12.The media doesn’t hold power to account like it used to. It can’t afford to. You don’t pay for news anymore, do you, and if you use an ad-blocker the media don’t make a cent from the information they give you. Well, free shit ends up being worth what you paid for it.
13. Journalists have got far too much work to do. There probably isn’t a single working journo in Australia who would spend 100 hours on a story, like I have, when it’s going to drop into their laps in a couple of weeks anyway. And frankly, who wants to look at spreadsheets?
14. Relying on politicians to answer questions about themselves is pretty much all journalists do these days. At the best, you’ll get two competing talking heads, butting each other. It’s easy, it’s cheap and it rates well if you’ve got someone outrageous enough, but it’s sloppy.
15. Anyway, the most explosive bit of tonight’s revelations doesn’t come from Australian media, but from an overseas source, so I’m not surprised Aussie journos missed it. It's all on the public record and I'll be providing sources.
16. So that’s why you haven’t seen this in the papers, and you won’t unless you bitch and moan to your favourite media to get on this story and not let go until they get to the kernel of truth. Anyway, rant over. Let’s get on with it.
17. All the MPs mentioned in my earlier thread have potentially acquired dual citizenship through being born outside Australia, or being related to people who are born outside Australia. This cluster of MPs is different. They’re Jewish.
18.The High Court has already considered the question of whether Catholics in Australia are subject to the Vatican. (No, they’re not.) The Vatican grants citizenship to cardinals, the Pope’s diplomats and a few others who need to be in the Vatican. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_4…
19. Israel has a very unusual citizenship law, in that it opens its borders to all people of one particular faith. Even Pakistan, which was founded on a religious identity, does not codify that religion into its citizenship law. jewishagency.org/first-steps/pr…
20. The Jewish Agency is the official Israeli migration agency. They say: “Essentially, all Jews everywhere are Israeli citizens by right.”
21.Naturally, it’s more complicated than that. There are two classes of Israeli citizenship. One does not confer full rights. The Australian Jewish News has a pretty thorough article on the subject, posted after the #auspol #s44 #citizenship saga began. jewishnews.net.au/section-44-aff…
22.The conclusion drawn by the article is that Australian Jewish MPs would need to jump through a lot of hoops to become Israeli, therefore #s44 does not apply. Well, I’m not a lawyer but even lawyers get points of law wrong all the time.
23.“And so the High Court shall hold!” was the famous declaration of lawyer Malcolm Turnbull when he said Barnaby Joyce would be found not to be a dual citizen. He was wrong. He also sailed close to contempt of court, for telling the court what to think. abc.net.au/news/2017-08-1…
24. It appears obvious to me this needs to be considered by the High Court or it will come up some other time. Folding it into the general discussion of #s44 #citizenship as it applies to all the other potential dual citizens in parliament is the best way to avoid anti-Semitism.
25. If you remember the electoral calculus I performed a few days ago, you’ll recall the Coalition has a lot more MPS to lose from this #s44 clusterfuck. The numbers don’t get much better for the government here.
26.Let’s look at the MPs who might get caught by this provision. And, if you’re wondering how I can be so sure of someone’s religion, the Australian Jewish News was justifiably proud to announce in September 2016 that six Jews had been elected. jewishnews.net.au/elected-record…
27.Jason Falinski is a familiar name if you saw the earlier thread. He’s got multiple possible nationalities. Stirling Griff could be the second NXT candidate to fall through the cracks, but he’s in the senate so I'm not too concerned about that.
28. Josh Frydenberg should not come as a surprise. His mother was born in Hungary, and the Prime Minister made an passionate defence of Frydenberg when the suggestion was made that he could be a dual Hungarian citizen.
29. Michael Freelander is Labor’s MP in Macarthur, and Julian Leeser is the Liberal MP in Berowra. Labor’s Michael Danby in Melbourne Ports is a special case. If you’re looking for a poster child for split loyalties, he fits the bill.
30. Mr Danby is engaged in a dispute with the ABC over their coverage of Israel, and has gone so far as to spend government funds on anti-ABC ads attacking their Middle East correspondent. smh.com.au/entertainment/…
31.After the 2016 election, Danby said he was too sick to go to Canberra for a sitting week. Instead, he went to Israel for an anti-Muslim conference. abc.net.au/news/2017-10-1…
32. I think an MP who calls in sick to attend a conference in another country needs to be asked “who do you think you represent?” And that’s the whole point of #s44, to establish that an MP owes allegiance to Australia first and last. That’s “the vibe” of #s44.
33. These Israeli #s44 issues will be unresolved until the High Court assesses them. The Coalition has already raised these issues, as this article the WOz makes clear. thewest.com.au/politics/feder…
34. In the article, the LNP threatens a list of Labor MPs with referral to the High Court, including “Labor senator Kim Carr (who) could have inadvertently acquired Israeli citizenship through marriage”. That’s a reference to the 1970 extension of the 1950 law.
34. In the article, the LNP threatens a list of Labor MPs with referral to the High Court, including “Labor senator Kim Carr (who) could have inadvertently acquired Israeli citizenship through marriage”. That’s a reference to the 1970 extension of the 1950 law.
35. So the Liberals have, once again, telegraphed their move. Can I please be dealt into a game of poker with Malcolm Turnbull? This kind of move makes as much sense as Sheriff Bart in Blazing Saddles screaming “NOBODY MOVE OR THE KID GETS IT!”
36.This final MP is potentially eligible to Israeli citizenship through his mother. The Israeli citizenship law was changed in 1970 to extend rights to the children of Jews after this MP was born.
37. Although he doesn’t normally identify publicly as Jewish, this MP does play it up in the right circumstances: when making speeches to Jewish audiences, for instance. He speaks Hebrew and Yiddish, and a rabbi has complimented his knowledge of scripture.
38. Rabbis have offered to help him with his genealogy and he even has a nickname in the community, Moishe (Moses). The following article is from Haaretz, the most credible Israeli newspaper. It’s more or less the Israeli equivalent of the Guardian, left-wing and serious.
39. My first reaction on reading this article was astonishment, like I the time I discovered a piece of seaweed was actually a leafy sea-dragon blown down from Cape York on storms. I spotted it swimming against the current.
40. My second reaction was disappointment that the member for Wentworth had kept this so quiet. Although I would prefer an atheist PM, or a Buddhist, over any follower of the Judeo-Christian-Muslim tradition, it’s the subterfuge that gets me.
41. My third reaction was “so that’s the pattern”. The passionate, heartfelt defence of Josh Frydenberg, who voted for Abbott but retained a cabinet post under Turnbull. The chumminess with Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s PM, at the Beersheba commemorations a month ago.
42. I feel extremely conflicted that a Prime Minister of Australia would treat his Jewish heritage like Tolkien’s ring of power, something to be hidden from the covetous masses and only brought out from hiding among trusted companions.
43. Why does this upset me more than a cabinet minister hiding their sexuality or concealing a mistress? Although hidden sexual proclivities can form the basis of blackmail *cough pee tape cough* they do not normally shape international policy.
44. My position on the Israel/Palestine conflict is the same as the majority of Palestinians and Israelis: two states, with Jerusalem as an international city, with compensation or return for the Palestinians displaced. Most Palestinians and Israelis agree. Their leaders can’t.
45. And, frankly, there’s no nuclear-armed LGBTIQ nation in conflict with all the straight countries in the neighbourhood. So, I think a hidden allegiance to a religious nation matters, whatever the religion.
46. The thing that really perturbs me? The way the PM has tried to wriggle out of taking this to the pool room, I mean High Court. He’s pushed back the date for HoR declarations until Dec 5, which barely leaves time to send people to the High Court. hcourt.gov.au/registry/court…
47. I doubt the Justices will have time to consider all the cases before they break for Christmas, to return in February. So we’ve got an illegitimate government desperately clinging to power and hoping something turns up before February. hcourt.gov.au/registry/court…
48. And *that* is where the real danger lies. Desperate governments take desperate measures. The Tampa children overboard fiasco is only the most obvious example. That was clearly bullshit from the first moment, but the media bought the story and fed it to the rest of us.
49. Democracy is much more fragile than you think. Autocracy doesn’t creep, it leaps. One day you’re in the Weimar Republic, the next everyone’s throwing Nazi salutes because everyone else is doing it. It took Hitler *one year* to create the Third Reich. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weimar_Re…
50. So what are we going to do about it? Well, I’m going to send this screed to every single MP in Parliament, and to the Governor-General. I encourage you to make your voices heard. This #s44 debacle isn’t a joke. This is exactly how we lose our county.
51. Not because there are dual citizens in parliament, but because the government refuses to let go. Read some history, or just take a look at what’s happening in the US at the moment. The US has a much more robust democracy than Australia.
52. The courts, Congress and the President can check each other. But when a President stacks the courts – that’s happening now – and Congress is too softcock to stand up to an orange weenie in a bad suit, we’re only one fire away from autocracy. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reichstag…
53. The situation isn’t quite as bad here, but we don’t have the checks and balances either, except the High Court, and Turnbull has been threatening to send Labor and cross-bench MPs to the principal, but not his own team.
54. If all that sounds utterly insane, it's because it's too much to take in at once. I've had time to process this one bite at a time, but I've just crammed it down you in one gulp.
55. I believe the PM knows he will lose power as soon as MPs show their homework, and he will do anything to prevent that. I'm not prepared to wait for MPs to decide if they need to go to the naughty corner. I'm not waiting the 'the media' to do their job. We need to insist. /end
I'd like to thank everyone who has engaged with this tonight. I really appreciate it. Please, let's keep the pressure on, because public pressure matters.

I'll follow through with a few more threads about the #s44 dramas. Send me any tips you have on MPs who might be dodgy.
#auspol #s44 #citizenship one-tweet summary
PM claims Jewish heritage, which may make him eligible to Israeli citizenship. The Liberals themselves have called out a Labor senator under the same provision. #pleaseexplain See thread for details.
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