NA­TION La­bor rolls poll dice

Townsville Bulletin - - NATION -

LA­BOR has re­cruited for­mer NSW pre­mier Kristina Ke­neally to run in the Ben­ne­long by- elec­tion, in a sur­prise move which could desta­bilise the Turn­bull Gov­ern­ment.

The an­nounce­ment by La­bor leader Bill Shorten came as the cit­i­zen­ship cri­sis, which trig­gered the De­cem­ber 16 by- elec­tion, claimed the scalp of mav­er­ick Tas­ma­nian sen­a­tor Jacqui Lam­bie.

Sen­a­tor Lam­bie, the daugh­ter of a Scot­tish- born fa­ther, yes­ter­day re­vealed in a tear­ful speech to par­lia­ment that UK au­thor­i­ties had con­firmed her sta­tus as a Bri­tish cit­i­zen by de­scent, which com­pelled her to re­sign.

She warned the Gov­ern­ment against us­ing her ab­sence as an op­por­tu­nity to pass leg­is­la­tion she op­posed, such as work­place re­forms, but backed yet- to- be- passed laws for a first- home buyer’s su­per­an­nu­a­tion scheme.

Lib­eral MP John Alexan­der’s dual cit­i­zen­ship trig­gered the by- elec­tion in his Syd­ney seat of Ben­ne­long.

Mr Shorten said the by­elec­tion was the chance to send a wake- up call to the Turn­bull Gov­ern­ment.

“This is a chance which I think a lot of peo­ple in Aus­tra- lia would like to have that has fallen to the peo­ple of Ben­ne­long to send a mes­sage against the dys­func­tion and the chaos of the cur­rent gov­ern­ment, the pol­icy paral­y­sis, the fail­ure of lead­er­ship,” he said.

Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull said in Manila, where he is at­tend­ing the East Asia Sum­mit, the vot­ers of Ben­ne­long al­ready had an “out­stand­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tive” in Mr Alexan­der.

“My mes­sage to the vot­ers of Ben­ne­long is ... don’t let Kristina Ke­neally do to Ben­ne­long what she did to New South Wales,” he said.

Las Ve­gas- born Ms Kene- ally has re­leased doc­u­ments show­ing she re­nounced her US cit­i­zen­ship in 2002.

Cabi­net min­is­ter Greg Hunt fired the first shot from the Coali­tion trenches, de­scrib­ing Ms Ke­neally as “Eddie Obeid’s pro­tege” – re­fer­ring to the dis­graced for­mer state La­bor min­is­ter.

A t t o r n e y - Gen­eral Ge­orge Bran­dis told par­lia­ment there was “in­cont r o v e r t i b l e e v i d e n c e ” that La­bor M MPs Su­san L Lamb b and Jus­tine Keay had not com­pleted re­nun­ci­a­tion of their UK cit­i­zen­ship at the time of the 2016 elec­tion.

But Ms Lamb pro­duced doc­u­ments yes­ter­day she says clearly demon­strate that she has com­plied with the cit­i­zen­ship pro­vi­sions of the Constitution.

She showed News Corp Aus­tralia a let­ter from the UK Home Of­fice dated Au­gust 10, 2016, which said it was doubt­ful she was a Bri­tish cit­i­zen to be­gin with.

Sen­a­tor Lam­bie has ex­pressed an in­ter­est in run­ning for Ms Keay’s north­ern Tas­ma­nian seat of Brad­don should the La­bor MP face a by- elec­tion.

Mr Turn­bull con­firmed he would await the re­sult of a process for all par­lia­men­tar­i­ans to dis­close their cit­i­zen­ship and fam­ily history de­tails be­fore en­dors­ing any fur­ther re­fer­rals to the High Court.

RE­CY­CLED FACE: Fed­eral Op­po­si­tion Leader Bill Shorten with newly an­nounced La­bor can­di­date for Ben­ne­long Kristina Ke­neally yes­ter­day and ( in­set) Jacqui Lam­bie, who re­signed yes­ter­day.

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