PM urged Alexander to resign
MALCOLM Turnbull encouraged Liberal MP John Alexander to do the “right” and “honourable thing” and resign from his marginal seat on account of his likely British citizenship, in an extraordinary move that will see the Prime Minister preside over a minority government.
WA Liberal MP Nola Marino last night also told The Sunday Times that she was not a dual citizen after a report the Forrest MHR might have unknowingly obtained Italian citizenship through marriage.
In response, Ms Marino said in a statement: “The High Court found that in order to be an Italian citizen you are required to be registered. The court found it is about registration, not relationship — I am not registered.”
Yesterday, Mr Turnbull drew on Mr Alexander’s resignation, which has left him vulnerable to losing control of Parliament, to step up pressure on Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to stop running a “protection racket” for a group of suspected dual-citizen Labor MPs.
“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 Parliament they shouldn’t sit in the Parliament.”
Mr Alexander, below, will contest a by-election in his marginal seat of Bennelong, which could be as early as December 16.
A group of Labor MPs are refusing to resign despite serious doubts over their eligibility to sit in Parliament, including Justine Keay and Susan Lamb, along with Senator Katy Gallagher.
Mr Turnbull said the MPs should follow Mr Alexander’s lead and face a by-election on the same day.
“John has done the right thing, the honourable thing,”Mr Turnbull said.
“He has resigned his seat and Bill Shorten and Labor should now seriously consider whether their members who admitted they were UK citizens at the time they nominated, not only were but knew they were, whether they should do the right thing, resign from Parliament now and the by-elections can be held on the same day as the by-election for Bennelong.”
Acting Prime Minster Julie Bishop echoed Mr Turnbull’s calls for the Opposition Leader to address doubts over Labor MPs.