Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - MATTHEW KILLORAN

SENATOR Matt Cana­van has been listed on the Registry of Ital­ians Re­sid­ing Abroad and Ital­ian vot­ing forms were au­to­mat­i­cally sent to him at his mother’s ad­dress for the past 10 years.

But the rising LNP star, who re­signed from Cabi­net on Tues­day due to the dual cit­i­zen­ship scan­dal, yes­ter­day re­it­er­ated he has never re­ceived or viewed a bal­lot.

In a dra­matic turn for the Gov­ern­ment, Senator Cana­van this week re­vealed his mother, who was also born in Aus­tralia but of Ital­ian descent, had signed him up for Ital­ian cit­i­zen­ship. Un­der the Con­sti­tu­tion a per­son who holds dual cit­i­zen­ship is in­el­i­gi­ble for Par­lia­ment.

Senator Cana­van said his mother made the ap­pli­ca­tion in 2006 when she her­self ap­plied for cit­i­zen­ship, but without his con­sent or knowl­edge, while he was aged 25.

Senator Cana­van’s par­ents kept a low pro­file yes­ter­day. His fa­ther ap­peared at the door of their Bris­bane home, but de­clined to com­ment.

The va­lid­ity of the cit­i­zen­ship will be tested in the High Court – and there is po­ten­tial

prece­dent to sug­gest a per­son must “ac­cept or ac­qui­esce” to for­eign cit­i­zen­ship to be ruled in­el­i­gi­ble.

Peo­ple listed on the Registry of Ital­ians Re­sid­ing Abroad are au­to­mat­i­cally sent vot­ing forms for elec­tions. It is un­der­stood the forms were sent to his mother’s ad­dress.

The most re­cent Ital­ian elec­tion was held in Fe­bru­ary 2013 and prior to that in 2008 and 2006.

A spokesman for Senator Cana­van said he had not voted in an Ital­ian elec­tion and had never re­ceived or viewed any bal­lot pa­pers.

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Barn­aby Joyce yes­ter­day said Senator Cana­van had dis­cussed Ital­ian cit­i­zen­ship with his mother in 2005, but had never signed any form.

“Senator Cana­van has stated to me that he did not com­plete any forms so it was a dis­cus­sion the fam­ily had and he thought that’s where it’s rested,” he said.

“From what has been con­veyed to me, he had no in­ter- est in be­com­ing an Ital­ian ci­ti­zen.”

Mr Joyce said it was “an in­cred­i­bly dif­fi­cult time” for Senator Cana­van’s mother and that she would be “at her wits’ end”.

Greens leader Richard di Natale has said Senator Cana­van should fol­low Greens sen­a­tors Larissa Waters and Scott Lud­lum, also caught up in dual cit­i­zen­ship mat­ters, and re­sign from the Se­nate.

Mr Joyce said Senator Cana­van was not re­sign­ing from the Se­nate. “We don’t even know at this stage whether there was a valid regis­tra­tion in Italy,” he said.

Gov­ern­ment sources have con­tin­ued talk­ing up Senator Cana­van’s chances of beat­ing a Con­sti­tu­tion chal­lenge to his el­i­gi­bil­ity.

The mat­ter will have to be re­ferred to the High Court by the Se­nate, which does not sit again un­til August 8.

It is un­der­stood Senator Cana­van is not able to be rep­re­sented by the Solic­i­tor-Gen­eral and will have to seek his own rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

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