Opinion Number. 1559

Subject

nationality nationality: revocation of certificate of naturalization: disaffection or disloyalty to his majesty: member of communist party: whether doctrine of communism compatible with monarchy

Key Legislation

Nationality Act 1920 s 12(1)

Date
Client
The Secretary, Department of the Interior

The Secretary, Department of the Interior, has forwarded to me for advice the following communication:

  • I desire to inform you that on the 23rd January, 1930, Certificate of Naturalization No. C.C. 946 was granted in favour of an Italian named G.T. The report regarding this man’s character was satisfactory.
  1. Information was recently received from the Collector of Customs at Brisbane to the effect that T. had received several parcels of communistic literature, printed in Italian, but sent from France. The Italian Consul at Townsville is, however, of the opinion that it is being sent to him without his consent.
  2. A report furnished by the Police authorities at Ingham shows that T. is regarded as one of the leading members of the Communist party at Ingham at the present time, and is known to frequent the company of persons belonging to communist organisations. Information from a reliable source also shows that T. distributes the communistic literature which he receives amongst his fellow countrymen.
  3. Before the question is considered of making further investigation as to whether definite evidence can be obtained to show that this man is a member of a Communist party and engaged in distributing subversive literature, it is desired to learn whether you consider that such evidence, if obtainable, would enable the Department to take action under section 12, sub-section (1), of the Nationality Act 1920–1930, with a view to the revocation of the Certificate of Naturalization issued in his favour, on the ground that he has shown himself by act or speech to be disaffected or disloyal to His Majesty.

Subsection (1) of section 12 of the Nationality Act 1920–1930 reads as follows:

12. (1) Where the Governor-General is satisfied that a certificate of naturalization has been obtained by false representation or fraud, or by concealment of material circumstances, or that the person to whom the certificate is granted has shown himself by act or speech to be disaffected or disloyal to His Majesty, the Governor-General shall by order revoke the certificate.

It would appear that T., to whom a certificate of naturalization has been granted, is regarded as one of the leading members of the Communist party at Ingham and that he distributes communistic literature among his countrymen. I am asked to advise whether action under section 12(1) can be taken to revoke the certificate if definite evidence can be obtained to show that T. is a member of the Communist party and engaged in distributing subversive literature.

The object of the Communist party is to establish and maintain that state of society known as Communism. This system is based on the teachings of Marx and Engels as expounded in the Communist Manifesto of 1847. The following is an extract from that Manifesto:

The Communists disdain to reveal their aims and intentions. They declare openly that their ends can only be attained by the forcible over-throw of every obtaining order of society. Let the ruling classes tremble before a communist revolution; the workers have nothing to lose by it but their chains. They have the world to win. Workers of every land, unite! (See Encyclopaedia Britannica, 12th Ed. Vol. XXX p. 730 et seq.)

The following extracts from the A.B.C. of Communism (Bukharin) and the Communist Party Training of 1927 explain the doctrine as expounded in more recent years:

Communist Party Training. p. 41

In the struggle of the working class for political power to overthrow the capitalist class, the struggle ultimately passes from the defensive to the offensive, and a period of insurrection marks the period of revolution. The extent of the violence is determined by the degree of political organisation and leadership of the working class. The more efficient this organisation and leadership, the shorter the period of conflict. To ensure the requisite organisation and leadership, the Communist Party is essential for the proper co-ordination, consolidation and guidance of the struggle.

A.B.C. of Communism. p. 91

The proletarian dictatorship is not only a weapon for the overthrow of enemies, but also a means of economic revolution. Through this revolution private ownership in the means of production will be replaced by common ownership. This revolution must take the means of production and exchange from the hands of the bourgeoisie. Who is to execute this task? Evidently no single person can do it. If a single person, or even a group of persons, were to do this a new division, at the best, would result; and at the worst, a system of sheer robbery. It will therefore be seen that the expropriation of the bourgeoisie will have to be carried through by the organised power of the proletariat. And this organised power is precisely the workers’ State—the dictatorship of the proletariat.

A.B.C. of Communism. pp. 82, 83

Administration under Communism. There will be no classes in the Communist Society. Now, when there are no classes there will be no State. We said before that the State is an organ of class domination; it has always been used by one class against another. If the State is a bourgeois one, it is used against the proletariat; if it is a proletariat one, it is used against the bourgeoisie. In the Communist society, however, there will be no landowners, no capitalists, no wage-workers; there will be simply human beings, comrades.

By section 12 of the Nationality Act 1920–1930 it is provided (inter alia) that if the Governor-General is satisfied that the person to whom a certificate of naturalization is granted has shown himself by act or speech to be disaffected or disloyal to His Majesty, the Governor-General shall revoke the certificate.

The question whether a naturalized person has shown himself by act or speech to be disaffected or disloyal to His Majesty is one which must be decided by the Governor-General, and in each case I think it would be necessary for him to consider some definite act or speech of the particular person concerned. Each case must be considered in relation to the particular facts shown to exist, and it is not possible, therefore, for me to make any general statement as to the circumstances in which the Governor-General should revoke a certificate of naturalization.

I am inclined to think that the doctrine of communism is incompatible with any form of monarchy, and that a person who is actively engaged in organisation and propaganda directed towards the introduction of that system cannot be regarded as a loyal subject of the King, but, as stated above, the matter is one for determination by the Governor-General, and in coming to a decision it would be necessary for the Governor-General in each case to consider definite acts or speeches and to satisfy himself that the person concerned has shown himself by some act or speech to be disaffected or disloyal to His Majesty.

[Vol. 27, p. 298]