Dual Nationality - Thoughts





Dual citizenship can be good for commoners in trade, business and career making. Governments which allow this view this as an enhancement of the quality of life. 

However to hold political office in Australia, one cannot be a dual citizen. Two ex- Senators from the Greens recently stepped down from holding office after acknowledging they were also citizens of NZ and Canada. 

Today the Federal Minister for Resources and Northern Australia had to step down from Cabinet, after finding out his mother registered him as
an Italian citizen several years ago - without his knowledge until now. 

The need for devoted loyalty to the nation where you hold political office is obvious. It is as logical as having full dedication to the sole person you marry. It can be as passionate as one not being a supporter to more than one team in the Aussie sports codes like NRL and AFL. It can be as constrained as to your place of residence when Queensland and NSW fight it over three major games in the State of Origin series in winter. 

The apparent human instinct for unfettered loyalty in history drove significantly the formation of tribes, communities and nation states. It is a natural device for greater security and shared values, important to counter episodes of betrayal, sabotage and revenge. 

In several countries, even more significant is the loyalty to religion, race and ethnic culture of your chosen community or state. 

The legendary fear of having the enemy already implanted with or without suspicion in your own house can play out at different levels of the socio- political landscape. We learn of people having been interned in camps after they were booted out of their houses, when they are descended from countries at war with the nation of their citizenship. Japanese individuals did surface as spies for the Imperial Army when Singapore was taken over in the 1940s. In contrast, the Japanese in Hawaii showed their loyalty to the USA by forming the Nissei regiments to fight for their adopted country on the European war front. 

The Chinese diaspora is significantly spread over the world. They do face higher risks of unusual treatment should warfare break out between China and their adopted nations. 

Such risks can rear their ugly head in a world with more diverse migrants in specific nations. An individual may have ultimate loyalty in his or her heart, but how can they convince governments, the pulse of local communities and their adopted nation of this sincerity?

It becomes more complex when such individuals have dual nationality. Part of this potential problem is mitigated by countries whose governments do not allow dual nationality at all. - for example, China, Singapore and Malaysia. 

I know of Australian citizens who have dual nationality mostly due to the welcome from their mother nations to continue to be still part of their cultural background. India and Italy come to mind. 

The privilege of having dual nationality must be handled with care. The ease with which humans travel and migrate can lead to the challenging interface with unexpected or logical issues that can arise later in life. 

If one remains a permanent resident in your adopted country, without taking up citizenship, you can feel like floating in between countries, being not accepted fully anywhere. You may have your reasons for being on this space but eventually it is better to decide and choose. In this respect, We are still keeping up with the reality of the power of the nation states.

Different passports also offer varying levels of access and quality of visa free options. Taxes, pensions and financial affairs require specialist consultation. In the day to day world beyond travel convenience, choosing your nationality can be complex.

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