It’s Ben­ne­long time com­ing ... But the PM has lost his ma­jor­ity

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - NEWS - SHARRI MARKSON

MAL­COLM Turn­bull will l pre­side over a mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment after en­cour­ag­ing Lib­eral MP John Alexan­der to do the “honourable thing” and re­sign from Par­lia­ment be­cause he is likely a dual Bri­tish cit­i­zen.

The Prime Min­is­ter tried to use yes­ter­day’s bomb­shell res­ig­na­tion, which has left him vul­ner­a­ble to los­ing con­trol of Par­lia­ment, to in­crease pres­sure on Op­po­si­tion Leader Bill Shorten to stop run­ning a “pro­tec­tion racket” for a group of La­bor MPs sus­pected of be­ing dual cit­i­zens.

“John Alexan­der has done the right thing. I spoke to him last night and he told me that he was no longer suf­fi­ciently sat­is­fied, or no longer sure, that he was not a UK cit­i­zen,” he said.

“If mem­bers be­lieve they are no longer el­i­gi­ble to sit in the Par­liame Par­lia­ment, t th they shouldn’t sit in the Par­lia­ment.”

In the lat­est twist in the cit­i­zen­ship cri­sis, Mr Alexan­der an­nounced his res­ig­na­tion and de­clared he would re­con­test the mar­ginal seat of Ben­ne­long in a by-elec­tion to be held as early as De­cem­ber 16.

“Given what I have learned about the Con­sti­tu­tion, and un­der­stand­ing now of the High Court de­ci­sion of just a few weeks ago, I can no longer, with suf­fi­cient cer­tainty, main­tain the be­lief that I have held through my 66 years,’’ he said. A group of La­bor MPs M are re­fus­ing to re­sign, re de­spite se­riou ous doubts over th their el­i­gi­bil­ity to si sit in Par­lia­ment, in in­clud­ing Jus­tine Keay and Su­san Lamb, along w with Sen­a­tor K Katy Gal­lagher. Mr Turn­bull said the La­bor MPs should fol­low Mr Alexan­der’s lead and face a by-elec­tion on the same day. The Prime Min­is­ter, who re­sponded to the cit­i­zen­ship cri­sis en­gulf­ing Par­lia­ment while con­tin­u­ing to meet with world lead­ers at the APEC sum­mit in Viet­nam, said a gen­eral elec­tion was not nec­es­sary and in­sisted his Gov­ern­ment was sta­ble and in con­trol. “We ab­so­lutely are pro­vid­ing sta­ble gov­ern­ment,” he said.

POMSHELL: John Alexan­der (above) an­nounced his res­ig­na­tion after talks with Mal­colm Turn­bull (pic­tured in­set in a selfie with US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping at APEC).

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