Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 June 2012
One of the most important and defining aspects of sovereignty is that a state can establish its own criteria regarding citizenship of the nation. Citizenship is the strongest connection that a person can have with Australia. Citizens have an unrestricted right to live and work in Australia and to travel in and out of the country without restriction. The presence and activities of citizens are not controlled by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship – it only has the authority to administer rules in relation to non-citizens. Thus, citizenship is not central to the topic of this book. However, for the sake of completeness we provide a brief overview of the topic.
As a general principle, permanent residents share the same rights and duties as citizens. However, there are some rights and duties that are unique to citizens. These include the right to an Australian passport, the right to stand for public office and for election for parliament, to serve in Australia's defence force and claim diplomatic protection while overseas, and to serve on juries. Only citizens can enrol on the electoral register to vote at Commonwealth, state and local elections.