Path to Australian Citizenship: The Story of Bollard Man

Published on April 24, 2024

How does “Bollard Man” Damien Guerot obtain Australian citizenship?

Acknowledgment of Bravery:

Damien Guerot’s courageous act during the Bondi Junction attack garnered widespread recognition. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese publicly praised Guerot’s bravery, emphasizing his selflessness in protecting others.

Visa Resolution:

Guerot’s current visa is set to expire in July. To ensure he can stay in Australia, Albanese has pledged to address any visa-related challenges. This resolution allows Guerot to remain in the country indefinitely.

Citizenship Invitation:

In an extraordinary gesture, Albanese extended an invitation for Guerot to become an Australian citizen. While this would be a loss for France, it underscores Australia’s appreciation for acts of courage and compassion.

Damien Guerot’s remarkable actions have opened a pathway toward Australian citizenship, highlighting the positive spirit that emerges even in the face of tragedy.

Sydney shopping centre attack: ‘Bollard Man’ Damien Guerot who confronted killer given Australian residency

What can the PM do to help Mr. Damien Guerot be granted Australian citizenship?

According to the Australian Citizenship Act 2007, there are normally the following ways for a person to obtain Australian citizenship.

  1. Citizenship by birth, adoption, for abandoned children or by incorporation of Territory
  2. Citizenship by descent
  3. Citizenship by conferral

Learn more:

As we know, Mr. Damien Guerot is a French citizen holding a temporary visa in Australia. The most likely way for him to obtain Australian citizenship is by conferral. Section 21 of the Australian Citizenship Act sets out the eligibility for citizenship. An applicant must be a permanent resident, satisfy the general residence requirement, pass the citizenship test, and meet the character requirement.

The general residence requirement is outlined in section 22 of the Act as follows:

  1. The person was present in Australia lawfully for four years immediately before the citizenship application day. During this period, the total absence was less than 12 months, and
  2. The person was present in Australia as a permanent resident for 12 months immediately before the citizenship application day. During this period, the total absence was less than 90 days.

Section 22A gives power to the minister to exercise discretion regarding the general residence requirements. If this is the case, the applicant can be approved for Australian citizenship even if he/she does not meet the general residence requirements. However, our current legal system does not allow any officer in the government, including the PM, to waive the requirement of ‘being a Permanent Resident’ when a person applies for citizenship by conferral. 

What the PM can do?

  1. The PM needs to grant a permanent resident visa to Damien first. The type of visa depends on Damien’s individual circumstances. Then, the minister can exercise his discretionary power to ‘waive’ the general residence requirement to approve Damien’s citizenship application. Or
  2. The Parliament can make new laws to allow individuals like Mr. Damien Guerot, who have made significant contributions, to obtain Australian citizenship.

Disclaimer: Not Legal Advice

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