Ms Butler has replied.
First up this is the email I sent to her :-
If a politician were to find out about something that might or might not be a crime should they make that decision themselves or should it be left up to the police? I know most state crimes acts require all who are aware of a crime to let the police know otherwise they risk being charged with perverting the course of justice, especially if the politician and potential criminal are mates and there has been some sort of monetary or political advantaged gained by staying quiet.
I ask because the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet declared in an FOI request, 2014-159, in October last year, that Mr Abbott is still a dual citizen of Britain and Australia. They said his renunciation paperwork for the British citizenship does not exist. If a politician were to find out about something that might or might not be a crime should they make that decision themselves or should it be left up to the police? I know most state crimes acts require all who are aware of a crime to let the police know otherwise they risk being charged with perverting the course of justice, especially if the politician and potential criminal are mates and there has been some sort of monetary or political advantaged gained by staying quiet.
I have informed the Attorney General Senator Brandis of this and he just ignores me. I thought it normal for MPs to respond to correspondence, he doesn't bother. I first told him of a possible problem in May 2014 and again after the FOI was completed.
Everyone knows Tony Abbott was born in England to a pommie father giving him automatic British citizenship. The date of getting Australian citizenship is a bit clouded, he claims citizenship by descent, but his old mum had to renounce her Aussie citizenship to get the ten pound pom boat trip. We didnt give out trips not even to the mother of a future prime minister. The best I could find out is he got Australian citizenship the normal way in 1981 to comply with the Rhodes Trust and so he could get the Rhodes dollars for Oxford. His citizenship file is now a secret document in the National Archives which sort of defeats the purpose of a national archive.
He has dual nationality and hasn't renounced his Britishness.
He has entered parliament at 8 elections where he signed a declaration for the Australian Electoral Commission stating he has renounced his British citizenship and complies with section 44 of the constitution. Eight counts of fraud to enter parliament makes him a criminal.
Now that you are aware of the crime or potential crime will you advise the police or make the decision yourself that all is OK? I would hope you forward the matter to the CDPP, the AG department and the AFP or at least ask a question in parliament so we can ll find out what's going on.
Please advise what you will be doing.
Thanks for your time and patience.
And her reply
Thanks for emailing me.
As you’d know, Britain is a foreign power for the purposes of section 44(i) (Sue v Hill  HCA 30; 199 CLR 462; 163 ALR 648; 73 ALJR 1016). That suggests that if the Prime Minister had yet to renounce his British citizenship before being re-elected in 2013, he would be ineligible to sit.
I understand the Prime Minister’s office has said that the Prime Minister has renounced his British citizenship. If so, he would have done so by paperwork filed with the British government, which may explain why there aren’t Australian government records amenable to FOI. Not having seen any proof that the claim is a lie, I am not in a position to make any statement as to its veracity. I’d say that the person best placed to know the Prime Minister’s citizenship status is the Prime Minister himself. For that reason I accept his statement at face value. Having said that, I intend to write to him, in the terms of the enclosed letter, encouraging him to provide his declaration of renunciation, to avoid the need to continue to discuss this matter.
It appears to me that if a person believed that an MP, including the Prime Minister, was not eligible to hold his or her seat, the proper approach would be to seek a remedy from the High Court. As you will have seen from the Hill and Kelly cases, that is generally done as a petition to the Court sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns. You could also consider a claim under section 46 of the Constitution which allows a citizen to seek that the MP be financially penalised for sitting while ineligible.
If it turned out that the Prime Minister was eligible, you wouldn’t get relief from the court. If, on the other hand, the Prime Minister wasn’t eligible when elected in 2013, it would seem likely that the court would void the election for his division, and a by-election would occur (as it did in the Kelly case). I suspect if that was to occur the Prime Minister would win that by-election, but of course that would be a matter for the voters in his Division. (I would make the observation that if all that was achieved through court proceedings and an expensive by-election was to maintain the status quo, that would be a shame.)
If you believe that he has signed any false declarations, that is a matter that you might consider referring to the police. For my own part, not having seen any evidence that a false declaration has been made, I’m not going to make allegations to that effect.
Having made all of those observations, I’d say that I have many, many disagreements with the Prime Minister. I believe he’s wrong on just about every issue of public policy about which I’ve heard his views. I disagree with his government’s attacks on pensioners, students, families, working people, and households generally. I vehemently oppose his attacks on Medicare and on access to education, among many other things.
I hasten to add that nothing in this email is to be taken as legal advice. You should seek your own advice, especially if you’re considering commencing court proceedings. You may also be interested in this e-brief (which I suspect you’ve already seen) about section 44 from the parliamentary library: http://www.aph.gov.au/about_
parliament/parliamentary_ departments/parliamentary_ library/publications_archive/ archive/section44
Terri Butler MP
And her letter to Mr Abbott is here
I did the polite thing and asked Ms Butler if she minded me publishing this letter and she replied:-
I don’t mind at all.
If you do publish it (and this response), it’s important to emphasise that anyone considering action should take legal advice first. I haven’t had to look at time limits for Court of Disputed Returns actions for some years, and I have never had to look at time limits for actions under section 46 for financial penalties. And I’m not in a position to provide legal advice, myself, as I’m not presently practising.
I was up in Rocky yesterday, and someone raised this issue with me. I told her my view is that its best to run only your strongest arguments, because running your weak ones undermines your strong ones. I think our strongest arguments against Abbott are his policies and ideology, not his citizenship status.
So there you have it. A politician asking Mr Abbott to show the world his renunciation papers.
Thank you so much Ms Butler.
I will of publish here any reply from Mr Abbott. I have asked his office on at least a dozen occasions to provide details of the renunciation papers, so hopefully Ms Butler's letter will get a response.
And of course for regular readers of my blogs this is where the poverty bit goes.