Aus­tralia PM in mi­nor­ity after 2nd deputy quits in cit­i­zen­ship row

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - INTERNATIONAL -

SYDNEY, Nov 11 (AFP) - Em­bat­tled Aus­tralian Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull lost his grip on par­lia­ment when an­other of his coali­tion's MPs re­signed Satur­day, the lat­est vic­tim of a con­sti­tu­tional cri­sis over politi­cians who hold dual cit­i­zen­ship.

For­mer ten­nis star John Alexan­der, who rep­re­sents a Sydney district for Turn­bull's Lib­eral Party, an­nounced he was re­sign­ing after be­ing un­able to de­ter­mine if he had in­her­ited UK cit­i­zen­ship from his im­mi­grant fa­ther.

His res­ig­na­tion followed an Oc­to­ber 27 rul­ing by Aus­tralia's High Court that forced five other politi­cians to quit par­lia­ment be­cause they had fallen afoul of a pre­vi­ously ob­scure con­sti­tu­tional rule that bars dual cit­i­zens from sit­ting in the Se­nate or lower house.

The five in­cluded deputy prime min­is­ter Barn­aby Joyce, leader of the ru­ral­based Na­tional Party, which rules in a coali­tion with the Lib­er­als.

When par­lia­ment con­venes on Mon­day with­out Alexan­der, Turn­bull will con­trol only 74 of the 150 seats in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, with the op­po­si­tion La­bor Party hold­ing 69. Mi­nor par­ties and in­de­pen­dents fill the re­main­ing seats.

La­bor front bencher Tony Burke vowe d Satur­day to heap pres­sure on the gov­ern­ment by push­ing leg­is­la­tion op­posed by Turn­bull's coali­tion but supported by in­de­pen­dents.

Con­ser­va­tive Lib­eral party MP John Alexan­der laughs as he stands with Aus­tralian Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull dur­ing a visit to a print­ing com­pany in Sydney, Aus­tralia, April 4, 2017.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Sri Lanka

© PressReader. All rights reserved.