Immigrant communities residing and even permanently settled in Australia, in many cases with dual citizenship, seek out and are invited to maintain a link with their origin countries. Over the last few decades this has emerged through the involvement of former immigrants voting and in some cases providing representation in diaspora parliaments. Developments in this field indicate that diaspora parliaments will become more important and Australia needs to understand and navigate around these developments. The case in which Italians abroad were provided with the right to vote and be represented within the Italian parliament was a notable case in point. Italian legislation in 2001 allowed for Italians abroad to vote and be represented through parliamentary representation. This case provided some thorny issues for Australia which directly addressed matters of dual citizenship, Australian sovereignty, loyalties and national identity. This book is about how the Australian government confronted this matter from a policy development standpoint: at first carefully, then in a sudden rush at the end, with little transparency or focus on precedent.
The book provides previously unpublished material pertaining to correspondence within government ministries and departments on this matter made available under the provision of freedom of information. The material is supported by personal testimonies of Australian Ministers and Ambassadors and their understanding of the Australian approach towards the notion of diaspora representation from immigrant community groups which have made Australia their home.