NATION Labor rolls poll dice
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.