Australian politics has been thrown into turmoil again with five parliamentarians announcing their intention to quit after a High Court judgment sparked the latest phase of the so called “citizenship crisis”.
On Wednesday the High Court ruled Labor senator Katy Gallagher was ineligible to sit in parliament because she had not renounced her British citizenship in time for the 2016 election. The ruling prompted a further four parliamentarians, Labor’s Justine Keay, Josh Wilson and Susan Lamb, as well as the centre right alliance MP Rebekha Sharkie, to announce their intention to stand down and recontest their seats in by elections.
Australia’s constitution bars dual citizens from sitting in parliament, defining them as “any person who is under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power”. A quarter of the population was born overseas and it is the responsibility of election candidates to check whether they have acquired dual citizenship by birth or descent.
The resignations threaten to become a distraction ahead of a federal election, which could be held later this year or earlier next year.
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