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“He’s jumped the gun”: Legal expert says Peter Dutton didn’t check basic info about Neil Prakash’s citizenship

3AW Mornings

One of Australia’s top legal experts says the Home Affairs Minister has “jumped the gun” and made public statements without seeking basic information to clarify his claims.

The federal government’s attempt to strip Neil Prakash of his Australian citizenship has been cast into doubt after the Fijian government said Prakash was not and has never been a Fijian citizen.

Greg Barns, Barrister and Spokesperson for the Australian Lawyers Alliance, told Heidi Murphy the stripping of citizenship can only happen if it doesn’t render a person stateless.

“On the face of it, Peter Dutton, and it’s not the first time this minister has done it, that Peter Dutton has jumped the gun and made statements and potentially a decision about Mr Prakash which will now be challenged if Mr Prakash’s lawyer’s sought to do so, because it would be an unlawful decision,” Mr Barns said.

“I think it was unwise of Mr Dutton to be so public, without having fully checked it.

“It seems extraordinary that they wouldn’t talk to the Fijians to make sure.

“It appears in this case that he just didn’t bother to talk to Fiji.”

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The Department of Home Affairs issued 3AW with the following statement:

“A person may only lose their Australian citizenship under the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 if they are a national or citizen of a country other than Australia.

“Australia is committed to upholding our international legal obligations, including our obligation not to render a person stateless.”

3AW Mornings