Opinion Number. 748

Subject

ALIENS WHETHER ALIENS CAN OWN FREEHOLD PROPERTY: POSITION IN THE AUSTRALIAN STATES, NORTHERN TERRITORY AND NORFOLK ISLAND: WARTIME RESTRICTIONS UPON ACQUISITION OF LAND

Key Legislation

WAR PRECAUTIONS (LAND TRANSFER) REGULATIONS 1916

Date
Client
The Secretary, Department of External Affairs

The Secretary, Department of External Affairs, has forwarded the following letter from the Russian Consul-General for advice:

I have the honour to request you to kindly let me know whether a foreign subject resident in the Commonwealth must necessarily become a naturalized British subject before he can hold any freehold property/real estate in any of the Australian States, the Northern Territory or Norfolk Island.

The question of the ownership of freehold property by foreign subjects has been dealt with by legislation in all the States.

The position appears to be as follows:

  1. In New South Wales, Western Australia and Tasmania aliens may own freehold property, so that a foreign subject resident in those States can own freehold property without being naturalized;
  2. In Victoria, South Australia and the Northern Territory alien friends may own freehold property, so that a foreign subject resident in those States or Territory, if the subject of a friendly power, can own freehold property;
  3. In Queensland an alien cannot own freehold property, but an alien friend is entitled to acquire property for a term not exceeding 21 years for residential or business purposes;
  4. In Norfolk Island there is no legislation dealing with the subject so that by common law an alien would be debarred from owning freehold property.

Attention is invited to the provisions of the War Precautions (Land Transfer) Regulations 1916 of the Commonwealth which prohibit enemy aliens from acquiring further land and also prohibit naturalized persons of enemy origin from acquiring further land without the consent of the Attorney-General of the Commonwealth.

[Vol. 14, p. 471]

  1. Date in Opinion Book incomplete.