NORTHERN Aus­tralia and Re­sources Min­is­ter Matt Canavan dra­mat­i­cally re­signed from Cabi­net last night after dis­cov­er­ing his mum had signed him up for Ital­ian citizenship.

The Na­tion­als min­is­ter said his Australian- born mother, whose par­ents were both born in Italy, ap­plied for him to be­come an Ital­ian cit­i­zen in 2006, when he was aged 25.

He is the third par­lia­men­tar­ian to be caught out in the widen­ing citizenship bun­gle.

Mr Canavan ( pic­tured) was born on the Gold Coast and grew up in the Bris­bane sub­urb of Lo­gan. He has never vis­ited Italy or an Ital­ian con­sulate.

The Govern­ment is seek­ing le­gal and con­sti­tu­tional ad­vice as to whether Mr Canavan is a dual cit­i­zen, given the Ital­ian citizenship was ob­tained with­out his knowl­edge or con­sent.

“Un­til last week, I had no sus­pi­cion that I could pos­si­bly be an Ital­ian cit­i­zen,” Mr Canavan said.

“While I knew that my mother had be­come an Ital­ian cit­i­zen, I had no knowl­edge that my­self had be­come an Ital­ian cit­i­zen, nor had I re­quested to be­come an Ital­ian cit­i­zen. “My mother raised with me the pos­si­bil­ity that I was in fact an Ital­ian cit­i­zen on Tues­day. “I have since then taken steps to check my citizenship sta­tus with the Ital­ian au­thor­i­ties and that has con­firmed that I was reg­is­tered as an Ital­ian cit­i­zen in Jan­uary 2007.” Mr Canavan said his mother con­tacted him with the news that he was an Ital­ian cit­i­zen after the citizenship scan­dal that saw the res­ig­na­tion of two Greens sen­a­tors, Scott Lud­lam and Larissa Waters. Ital­ian au­thor­i­ties had con­firmed, Mr Canavan said, that the ap­pli­ca­tion was not signed by him and he had re­ceived no cor­re­spon­dence about it. “It is not my in­ten­tion to re­sign from the Se­nate,” he said. “How­ever given the un­cer­tainty around this mat­ter, I will stand aside un­til the mat­ter is fi­nally re­solved and re­sign as the Min­ster for Re­sources and Northern Aus­tralia.” Na­tion­als Leader Barn­aby Joyce will take on Mr Canavan’s min­is­te­rial re­spon­si­bil­i­ties while le­gal ad­vice is sought. La­bor sen­a­tor Sam Dast­yari said the sit­u­a­tion was rem­i­nis­cent of Shane Warne blam­ing his mother for him tak­ing a banned di­uretic drug.

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