Skip to main content

Historical documents

59 Department of Immigration to Gordon Walker

Cablegram 104 CANBERRA, 23 April 1948, 5.15 p.m.

Your cablegram G.10 of 13th April, 1948, regarding British
Nationality Bill. [1] Indian proposal has been carefully and
sympathetically considered in light of views expressed in your
cablegram. We feel bound to say, however, that your proposal that
Bill should be amended to include alternative designation of
'British subject' and 'Commonwealth citizen' is open to serious
objection from Australia's point of view. Objection arises from
fact that 'Commonwealth' is in continual official and popular use
to designate the Commonwealth of Australia as distinct from the
component States.

Assuming uniform terminology for describing the common status is
to be maintained by all member nations, confusion would be
inevitable here if in Australian nationality law the term
'Australian citizen' were used to designate the specific
nationality of an Australian and the term 'Commonwealth citizen'
to indicate, even as an alternative designation, the status which
an Australian would enjoy in common with the citizens of other
parts of the British Commonwealth. On the other hand 'British
Commonwealth citizen' would not cause substantial difficulty here.

[matter omitted]

1 Document 58.

[AA: A3196, 1948, O.5855]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
Back to top