Rejection of Australian Citizenship on Character Grounds


Both the new and the old require an Australian citizenship applicant to be “of good character”.


The details of the following case are given extensively because it can show that even if one has killed one’s wife one can still be of good character provided the evidence is strong.


In Haupt [2003] AATA 161 (17.2.03), the AAT was not satisfied the applicant was of good character.  Although never sent to jail he had numerous cannabis offences, various driving offences and various assaults. The AAT found:


Mr. Haupt has a relatively lengthy criminal history of offences which indicate that he has been contemptuous of the law and authority when it suited him.

It affirmed the refusal of citizenship & concluded:

  1. Mr. H has not been in trouble with the law since Aug 1998. He claims that he has changed his way of life. He gave evidence that he no longer smokes cannabis, nor ..drink alcohol. He has sought professional help for his aggression problems. He now takes medication which he says “allows him to handle things better”.
  2. The Tribunal is satisfied that Mr. H’s attitude towards the law and people in authority from the date of his arrival in Australia to mid 1998 show that he has not been a person of good character during his first 28 years in Australia.
  3. The Tribunal takes the view that it is currently too early to determine whether Mr. H has reformed to such an extent that it is possible to decide that he is now a person of good character. If he carries on with his good behaviour and regard for the law for the next 5 years or so, there is no reason why he should not make an application for citizenship in 2008. The Respondent will then be better placed to assess Mr. H’s character.
Barbara Davidson