After two Greens senators were forced to resign following the shocking discovery they were dual citizens, Australian politicians are now falling over themselves to prove they won’t fall foul of the same law.
Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters, born in New Zealand and Canada respectively, resigned from the Senate after they found out they actually held citizenship to those countries on account of their birth. Both said they were unaware of their foreign citizenship, due to having left those countries at very young ages. Section 44 of the Federal Constitution blocks dual citizens from entering Parliament.
There are 23 other Australian MPs and senators aside from Ludlam and Waters who were born overseas. All of them have told the ABC they comply with the Constitution’s citizenship requirements and nearly half of them have also made public clarifications in the wake of their colleagues’ bungles.
Labor senator Sam Dastyari, who was born in Iran, was quick to jump on social media after the announcements, revealing he spent $25,000 to give up his Iranian citizenship. MPs Rebekha Sharkie (Nick Xenophon Team), Brian Mitchell (Labor), and former Liberal prime minister Tony Abbott were all born in the United Kingdom, and also said they had given up their foreign citizenship. For the record I’m Australian. “Made sure my dual UK citizenship renounced BEFORE election #trueblue”- tweeted by Rebekha Sharkie.