Anyone who is 18 years and older must be of ‘good character‘.
Current policy on character states that:
‘Good character’ refers to the enduring moral qualities of a person, and is an indication of whether an applicant is likely to uphold and obey the laws of Australia and the other commitments made through the pledge should they be approved for citizenship.
Enduring moral qualities of a person is said to encompass:
- Characteristics which have been demonstrated over a long period of time
- Distinguishing right from wrong
- Behaving in an ethical manner, conforming to the rules and values of Australian society
Policy provides the following direction to decision-makers when looking at whether an individual is of ‘good character’:
An applicant of good character would:
1. Respect and abide by the law in Australia and other countries;
2. Be honest and financially responsible (for example, pay their taxes, and not be in dishonest receipt of public funds);
3. Be truthful and not practise deception or fraud in their dealings with the Australian Government, or other governments and organisations, for example:
- providing false personal information
- concealment of convictions that could lead to the cancellation or refusal of a visa or citizenship
- involvement in Centrelink or Australian Tax Office fraud
- giving false names and/or addresses to police
- not be violent, involved in drugs or unlawful sexual activity
- not cause harm to others through their conduct (for example recklessness exhibited by negligent or drink driving, excessive speeding or driving without licence or insurance);
- not be associated with others who are involved in anti-social or criminal behaviour, or others who do not uphold and obey the laws of Australia;
- not have evaded immigration control or assisted others to do so, or been involved in the illegal movement of people;
- not have committed, been involved with or associated with war crimes, crimes against humanity and/or genocide;
- not be the subject of any extradition order or other international arrest warrant;
- not be involved in or providing assistance to, or reasonably suspected of being involved in or providing assistance to, terrorist organisations or acts of terrorism overseas or in Australia; and
- not be the subject of any verifiable information causing character doubts.
If you have received an “Invitation to Comment” on your application for citizenship in relation to questions about your character, you should contact us so we can advise you what sort of documents and information you should provide to try and overcome any character issues and a potential refusal of your citizenship application.
It is also important to note that if your application is refused, you are able to seek review of the decision to refuse Australian citizenship on character grounds through the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).