Australia citizenship: Sixth MP in eligibility trouble
Nation’s High Court would be deciding a sixth Australian MP’s eligibility for office over the issue of dual citizenship.
By descent because of her Scottish-born father, Government Senator Fiona Nash revealed she is a UK citizen.
Dual citizenship is not allowed for Australian politicians.
Australian politics for five weeks is in the grip of this saga, dozens of MPs had to make statements about their citizenship statuses.
Ms Nash who is deputy leader of the National Party, is also the junior partner in Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s governing coalition.
Like Barnaby Joyce Deputy Prime Minister, who is a also a dual nationality holder of New Zealand, Ms Nash told she would continue in her office until the respected High Court certifies a section of Australia’s constitution.
She said she had taken a legal advice from experts that she had not breached rules.
Four other politicians will also have their eligibility tested in court as early as next week:
- Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan, a possible citizen of Italy
- Far-right Senator Malcolm Roberts, who claims he renounced his UK citizenship
- Scott Ludlam, who resigned as co-deputy leader of the left-wing Greens over his New Zealand status
- Another Greens co-deputy leader and Canadian dual national, Larissa Waters, who has also resigned.
Mr Joyce sits in the lower House of Representatives, where Mr Turnbull’s government has only a one-seat majority.
If any government MPs in the lower house were to be ruled ineligible, it would trigger a complex process that could threaten Mr Turnbull’s hold on power.
On Thursday, Australian Justice Minister Michael Keenan was forced to deny he was a British citizen, but his case will not go before court.