Recent Cases

Jones v Commonwealth of Australia [2023] HCA 34 (01 November 2023) (Kiefel CJ; Gageler, Gordon, Edelman, Steward, Gleeson and Jagot JJ)


Constitutional law (Cth) – Powers of Commonwealth Parliament – Power to make laws with respect to naturalisation and aliens – Cessation of Australian citizenship – Where s 34(2)(b)(ii) of Australian Citizenship Act 2007 (Cth) (“Act”), in context, provided Minister may revoke person’s Australian citizenship acquired by conferral if, among other matters, person “convicted of a serious offence” within meaning of s 34(5) after making application to become Australian citizen – Where s 34(5) provided person “convicted of a serious offence” for purposes of s 34 if person convicted of offence against Australian law or foreign law for which person sentenced to death or to “serious prison sentence” and person committed offence before becoming Australian citizen – Where s 3 defined “serious prison sentence” as sentence of imprisonment for period of at least 12 months – Where plaintiff British and Australian citizen – Where plaintiff Australian citizen by virtue of certificate of Australian citizenship – Where plaintiff convicted of criminal offences relating to conduct before becoming Australian citizen and sentenced to more than 12 months’ imprisonment – Where Minister revoked plaintiff’s Australian citizenship under s 34(2) of Act – Whether s 34(2)(b)(ii) of Act supported by s 51(xix) of Constitution – Whether s 34(2)(b)(ii) law with respect to naturalisation.

Constitutional law (Cth) – Judicial power of Commonwealth – Cessation of Australian citizenship – Where precondition to Minister’s power to revoke person’s Australian citizenship under s 34(2)(b)(ii) of Act was, among other things, that person convicted of and sentenced to imprisonment for period of at least 12 months for offence committed before becoming Australian citizen – Whether s 34(2)(b)(ii) contrary to Ch III of Constitution for conferring upon Minister exclusively judicial function of punishing criminal guilt – Whether s 34(2)(b)(ii) limited to what is reasonably capable of being seen as necessary for purpose of protecting integrity of naturalisation process.

Words and phrases – “alien”, “cessation of citizenship”, “citizen”, “citizenship”, “denationalisation”, “denaturalisation”, “deprivation of citizenship”, “good character”, “integrity of naturalisation process”, “legitimate non-punitive purpose”, “naturalisation”, “naturalization”, “people of the Commonwealth”, “proportionality”, “public interest”, “punishing criminal guilt”, “punishment”, “punitive”, “reasonable necessity”, “revocation of citizenship”, “statutory precondition”.