Rundle: could Israel’s ‘right of return’ ensnare Danby, Dreyfus and Frydenberg in the section 44 thicket?
The constitution specifically proscribes anyone who is "entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or citizen" from standing for parliament. What does that mean for those who could apply for Israeli citizenship under Israel's right of return?
Throughout all the trials and travails of section 44 of the constitution, tales of phantom New Zealanders -- and the possibility that the entire Parliament is invalid -- one issue has remained undiscussed and unexamined: whether any potential of breach arises for a number of MPs due to Israel's "right of return", which is offered to Jewish-descended people and their spouses. The reason? Politics. The argument? That the right to apply for citizenship does not constitute "the rights or privileges" of citizenship itself.
But that discussion may have to be had if the case of Labor MP Katy Gallagher becomes the subject of a High Court referral. Gallagher has the right to apply for Ecuadorian citizenship, under that country’s 2008 revised constitution. Some of the ever-growing number of citizenship experts say that the "right to apply" does not meet the section 44 standard. However, Mary Crock, professor of public law at Sydney Uni, told The Daily Telegraph, of Gallagher’s case: