Public disillusionment with the major political parties has had a profound effect on the Australian political landscape during the last decade of the twentieth century. Most significant has been the increased number of independents elected to Australian parliaments resulting in the formation of minority governments in several States. Such a political climate encourages a sharper focus on the grounds of disqualification prescribed for candidates and sitting members of parliament. While often ignored in the past, either deliberately or accidentally, this is unlikely to continue. Such grounds have the potential to destabilize the political process by undermining slim government majorities or the election of crucial independent members. Given these risks, all grounds of disqualification in relation to members of parliament should be revised to ensure they are justified and clearly understood.
This article selects for revision that ground of disqualification concerned with foreign allegiance.