The Right to Citizenship – Slovenia and Australia


  • Robert Walters



Australia, Citizenship, Human Rights, Nationality, Slovenia, Statelessness


Most people across the world automatically assume citizenship at birth or acquire citizenship by descent or naturalisation. Since the growth of the concept of citizenship from the French and American Revolutions, it has become an important principle to the nation state and individual. Citizenship is the right to have rights. However, the right to citizenship is limited. In some cases when territorial rule changes the citizenship laws may exclude individuals resident in the territory. This article compares the development of the first citizenship laws in Australia and Slovenia, and the impact that these new laws had on the residents of both states. The first citizenship laws established by Australia were in 1948. More than forty years later in 1990, when Slovenia finally obtained independence from the former Yugoslavia, the new country was able to establish their own citizenship laws. The result of the Slovenian citizenship laws saw many former Yugoslav citizens who were resident in Slovenia being without citizenship of any state. Subsequently, these people were declared stateless. On the other hand, for Australia, the outcome was relatively smooth with the transition from British subjects to Australian citizenship.