Opinion No. 1896
AUSTRALIAN CITIZENSHIP BY NATURALISATION: STATUS AND RIGHTS OF NATURALISED CITIZENS UNDER LAWS OF THE COMMONWEALTH AND STATES: STATUS OF AUSTRALIAN CITIZENS AS BRITISH SUBJECTS: STATUS IN OTHER BRITISH COMMONWEALTH COUNTRIES OF PERSONS WHO ARE AUSTRALIAN CITIZENS BY NATURALISATION
NATIONALITY AND CITIZENSHIP ACT 1948 ss 7, 16: BRITISH NATIONALITY ACT 1948 (UK) s 1
01 September 1950
Mrs E.M. Cuthbert, Honorary Secretary, Women’s Non
I refer to your letter, dated 6th July, 1950, regarding questions as to the status and rights of naturalized new Australians.
As this matter involved the interpretation of the Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948 which is administered by the Department of Immigration, the views of that Department were sought.
Under section 16 of the Act, a person, upon naturalization in Australia, becomes an Australian citizen by naturalization.
By virtue of section 7 of the Act, an Australian citizen, whether by birth or naturalization, is a British subject and that section makes no distinction between a natural-born or a naturalized British subject. Because of its importance, I set out in full the provisions of section 7. It reads as follows:
(1) A person who under this Act is an Australian citizen or, by an enactment for the time being in force in a country to which this section applies, is a citizen of that country, shall by virtue of that citizenship be a British subject.
(2) The countries to which this section applies are the following countries namely, the United Kingdom and Colonies, Canada, New Zealand, the Union of South Africa, Newfoundland, India, Pakistan, Southern Rhodesia and Ceylon.
The status in other countries of the British Commonwealth of naturalized new Australians depends on the law in force in those countries. Thus, in England, an Australian citizen is, by virtue of section 1 of the British Nationality Act 1948, a British subject. There are similar provisions in some of the other countries of the British Commonwealth.
Your letter raises the further question as to the rights of naturalized new Australians. I may answer this question by saying that, for most, if not all, practical purposes the rights of an Australian by naturalization are under existing Commonwealth law the same as those of an Australian by birth. A similar position probably applies in the States but, without a very close examination of the law of the several States, I cannot say with certainty whether this is at present so in the case of all States.