Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Dual citizenship - the debate

Having lived and worked in the UK for 12 years I return with dual nationality - British and Australian, something the Australian government did not allow till 2002. The recent plight of Lebanese and Israeli Australians has ignited a debate about who is really Australian and the desirability or not of allowing dual nationality. A feature article in the Australian Finanacial Review, more balanced than the Courier Mail article (but not available electronically) explores the issues and makes, in my view, strong arguments, for maintaining dual nationality arrangements. Surprisingly the government has no idea how many Australian citizens have dual nationality. If anything, based on my experience to date, I would say that Government does not go far enough in encouraging this arrangement so as to facilitate an outward-looking, globally mobile citizenry (whether virtually or physically). Certainly tax, medical care, superannuation and other arrangements seem unduly complex at this stage, not that British banks - or at least mine - seem any better. Mine cannot deal with my Australian account number for internet transfers because they are one digit short in their account code field!!.

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