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Dual nationals ‘could lose citizenship for graffiti’

Citizenship could be stripped for offences as minor as vandalising commonwealth property under draft laws before parliament, a legal expert has warned.

Anne Twomey, professor of constitutional law at Sydney University, says the inclusion of such minor offences suggests “chaos” and inexperience in the drafting of the legislation, which plans to strip citizenship from dual national terror suspects.

“If you intentionally destroy or damage any commonwealth property, that’s it, you’ve automatically lost your citizenship,” Prof Twomey told ABC Radio on Thursday.

But Tony Abbott has said putting Australian foreign fighters in jail is “easier said than done”.

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Despite last year passing legislation creating no go zones for Australian travellers, the prime minister told the Magna Carta lecture in Parliament House on Wednesday night that it is hard to secure a conviction.

The federal government is hoping, with Labor’s support, to pass new changes to the Citizenship Act ensuring an Australian who participates in terrorism against Australia automatically forfeits their citizenship.

Parliament’s intelligence and security committee has been asked to consider whether the draft laws should be retrospective.

Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek says it’s important Prof Twomey and other experts provide evidence to the committee.

“It’s been rushed into the parliament and we’ve had inadequate time to consider it,” she told ABC radio.

Retrospectivity should also be examined in great detail by the committee.

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