The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. The information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to relevant legislation/policy. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia.

9.1.1 Australian citizenship


The concept of Australian citizenship was introduced on 26 January 1949. Prior to this anyone born in Australia was considered to be a British subject. A person is generally Australian citizen by birth, descent or conferral.

The Department of Home Affairs is responsible for decisions around citizenship. Further information is available at Department of Home Affairs - Immigration and citizenship page.

Australian citizens meet the definition of Australian resident and may be eligible for social security payments and concession cards, subject to meeting normal qualification and payability conditions. Australian citizens are exempt from the NARWP. However, qualifying residence periods may apply to certain pensions.

Act reference: SSAct section 7(2) An Australian resident is a person who …, section 43(1)(a) Qualification for Age, section 94(1)(e)(ii) A person is qualified for DSP … has 10 years qualifying Australian residence

Policy reference: SS Guide Residence requirements, Newly arrived resident's waiting period (NARWP), Qualification for Age, Qualification for DSP - 15 hour rule

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