Hawke un­der ci­ti­zen cloud

Sunday Herald Sun - - NEWS - ANNIKA SMETHURST NA­TIONAL POL­I­TICS EDI­TOR annika.smethurst@news.com.au @an­nikas­methurst

AS­SIS­TANT Im­mi­gra­tion Min­is­ter Alex Hawke has de­nied al­le­ga­tions he could be a dual Greek ci­ti­zen fol­low­ing rev­e­la­tions his mother was born in Greece.

The min­is­ter, who rep­re­sents the seat of Mitchell in north­west Syd­ney, claims he has only “solely held Aus­tralian cit­i­zen­ship”.

But ques­tions have emerged about Mr Hawke’s el­i­gi­bil­ity be­cause his mother was born in Greece and mi­grated to Aus­tralia in the 1950s.

Ac­cord­ing to the Greek em­bassy in Can­berra, a per­son ac­quires Greek cit­i­zen­ship at the time of birth “if said per­son is born to a par­ent of Greek na­tion­al­ity”, whether it is ac­ti­vated or not.

“...that is, the off­spring of a Greek ci­ti­zen, even if the par­ent has not ex­er­cised his/her right to cit­i­zen­ship”.

But it also states Greek cit­i­zens must be “duly reg­is­tered in the records of a mu­nic­i­pal­ity of the Hel­lenic Repub­lic”.

In a state­ment to the Sun­day Her­ald Sun, Mr Hawke said: “I was born in Wol­lon­gong, have lived my whole life in Aus­tralia and have only ever solely held Aus­tralian cit­i­zen­ship”.

“I am an Aus­tralian ci­ti­zen only and have never held or ac­quired or sought Greek or any other cit­i­zen­ship”.

Ear­lier this year Mr Hawke’s col­leagues Ju­lia Banks and In­dus­try Min­is­ter Arthur Sin­odi­nos were also forced to deny they were dual Greek cit­i­zens.

At the time the Lib­eral Party said it re­ceived con­fir­ma­tion from the Greek em­bassy that Ms Banks was not reg­is­tered as a Greek ci­ti­zen.

Se­na­tor Sin­odi­nos, whose par­ents were born on the Greek is­land of Cephalo­nia, said he had “never held Greek cit­i­zen­ship”. But con­sti­tu­tional ex­pert Pro­fes­sor Ge­orge Wil­liams said the case of the three MPs had not been tested.

“We have not seen ex­pert opin­ions on these three MPs with Greek her­itage,” he said.

“But the Aus­tralian law is clear; if Greek law re­gards a per­son as a ci­ti­zen they are dis­qual­i­fied from sit­ting in Par­lia­ment un­less they have taken rea­son­able steps to re­nounce Greek cit­i­zen­ship.”

He said the fi­nal de­ci­sion maker was the High Court.

Two La­bor MPs Maria Vam­vaki­nou and Steve Ge­or­ganas, claim they wrote to the em­bassy to re­nounce rights to cit­i­zen­ship be­fore be­ing elected.

Dur­ing his maiden speech, Mr Hawke paid trib­ute to his fam­ily who were part of the post-World War II mi­gra­tion wave to Aus­tralia.

In 2014 he also tweeted about his Greek her­itage say­ing: “I can’t help be­ing born half Greek, in fact I’m proud of it”.

Alex Hawke

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.