The Government has stripped five individuals of their citizenship due to their involvement with Islamic State terrorism.
According to Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, they were involved with “terrorist-related activity” and that Australia “is a safer place” for not allowing them back into the country.
The five are aged in their 20’s and 30’s but the Department of Home Affairs has not released any info on who they are or the degree of their involvement with Islamic State.
The only other person who has had their citizenship stripped is Khaled Sharrouf who became infamous around the world for a photo of his 7 year old son holding up a severed head.
Mr Dutton explained that the five were acting against the interests of Australia and had “chosen to leave the Australian community”.
The anti-terror laws under which their citizenship is being revoked are valid as long as they also hold citizenship in another country, thus not leaving them stateless.
Mr Dutton went on to say the Government’s policy was to “keep Australia as safe as possible” and that if they could “deal with foreign fighters” away from Australian shores then “we do that”.
Mr Dutton also said that there was a “significant security risk” if foreign fighters came back with military knowledge that could be used against Australians. He said that they were “very keen” to “neutralise” these threats before arriving in Australia.
The process of stripping the five’s citizenship began in 2017. Mr Dutton said that it took a long time to gather evidence about each individual.
He also pointed out the difficulty of gathering evidence in a conflict zone when compared with collecting evidence domestically.
Mr Dutton also hinted that more people could be losing their citizenship but assured that it would not amount to “large numbers”.
He also pointed out that some Australians who had travelled overseas to fight alongside Islamic State have been killed in battle.