What happens when your passport is cancelled while you’re overseas?
This is the question many are asking since the new counter-terrorism legislation was passed by the Federal Government, and the 75 cancelled passports of Australians who have allegedly traveled Syria and Iraq to join terrorist groups.
Business Insider spoke to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for the official line. Here’s what they had to say:
“Withholding passports is an important means of preventing Australians from travelling overseas to engage in activities prejudicial to national security — for example, to train, support or participate in terrorism.
“Under the Australian Passports Act 2005 (the Act), a competent authority may request the Minister for Foreign Affairs to cancel (or refuse to issue) a passport to a person if the competent authority suspects on reasonable grounds that the person would be likely to engage in conduct that might prejudice the security of Australia or a foreign country. Foreign Ministers (current and former) have exercised the discretionary power under the Act to cancel or refuse to issue passports at the request of competent authorities.
“Since 1 July 2013, the Minister for Foreign Affairs has cancelled more than 70 Australian passports for reasons relating to national security.
“Passport cancellation does not affect a person’s citizenship, nor prevent their return to Australia if they are overseas at the time their passport is cancelled. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is able to facilitate the return to Australia of a person whose passport has been cancelled by issuing a short-term travel document.”
This month Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced 75 Australians in Syria and Iraq have had their passports cancelled based on national security advice. It has also been reported that the government has refused to issue passports to another 10 planning to travel to the region.
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