NATION Greens left reeling as Waters resigns
A WOUNDED Greens leader Richard Di Natale has tried to reassure voters his party is not run by amateurs after losing his second codeputy to incompetence in a matter of days.
Queenslander Larissa Waters yesterday emotionally revealed she too was ineligible to be a senator because she is a dual citizen.
Ms Waters’ admission – just days after her Kiwi colleague Scott Ludlam made the same mea culpa – yesterday sparked a flurry of overseas- born Coalition and Labor MPs to pledge they had renounced their foreign citizenship. Twenty- three federal parliamentarians were born overseas.
A Government source said it was too early to determine whether it would offer the Greens pairs when voting, meaning their voting power would not be diluted, or use the crisis to their advantage to push through legislation.
The Senate will refer the two vacated positions to the High Court sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns, which will order a recount of the 2016 election ballot papers.
Former Democrats Leader Andrew Bartlett, who was second on the Greens ticket, is tipped to replace Ms Waters.
Section 44 of the Constitution makes it clear that a MP or senator cannot hold dual citizenship.
Flanked by her partner, infant daughter and radical Greens Brisbane City Councillor Jonathan Sri, Ms Waters said even though she was born in Canada, she did not realise she was a Can- adian citizen. I left Canada as a baby and I’ve never been back. I had no idea that I was a Canadian citizen,’’ she said.
“My parents are Australian. They were there working and studying briefly. I thought that when I was naturalised as a baby that was I was just an Australian.
“I’ve lived here almost all of my life and I was devastated to discover that in fact the law had changed a week after I was born and I needed to have taken active steps to announce what was my Canadian citizenship that I was blithely unaware of.
“With the shock announcement by my friend Scott last week I immediately took steps to check and was devastated to find that it might be a serious problem and I had some lawyers bless their hearts look over the weekend in great detail and we had confirmation for the Canadian High Commission just yesterday afternoon.”
Cr Sri said: “This is a loss for Queensland, right now there will be big banks mining corporations and developers who will be popping the champagne corks and saying, ‘ we’ve finally got rid of her’ because she was the one person who was standing up to the big end of town”.
Senator Di Natale described the matter as a “stuffup” and said the party’s coconveners would undertake a “root- and- branch” review to ensure it did not happen again.
“We are absolutely committed to making sure that ... we strengthen our internal party processes and come out of this bigger and stronger and better,” he said.
Labor senator Murray Watt described the Greens as a “complete rabble”.