Eighth Aus­tralian MP re­signs over dual cit­i­zen­ship

The Gulf Today - - World -

SYD­NEY: A con­sti­tu­tional cri­sis roil­ing Aus­tralian pol­i­tics claimed a new vic­tim on Tues­day with the res­ig­na­tion of the eighth law­maker to be felled by a once-ob­scure rule bar­ring dual cit­i­zens from fed­eral ofice.

The de­par­ture of Jac­qui Lam­bie, a colour­ful in­de­pen­dent se­na­tor from the is­land state of Tas­ma­nia, comes af­ter Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull’s cen­tre-right gov­ern­ment lost its grip on par­lia­ment as MPS were top­pled by the cit­i­zen­ship is­sue.

Lam­bie an­nounced her res­ig­na­tion in a tear­ful speech, telling MPS she had just learned she held Bri­tish na­tion­al­ity from her Scot­tish grand­fa­ther and fa­ther.

“Any­one who knows my fa­ther will be shocked to think of him as any­one else than an Aussie,” Lam­bie told the Se­nate, ad­ding, “My dad be­lieved he re­nounced his cit­i­zen­ship years ago.”

But she said that fol­low­ing the res­ig­na­tions of other politi­cians who held dual cit­i­zen­ship by de­scent, she made en­quiries with Bri­tish au­thor­i­ties into her sit­u­a­tion.

“It is with great re­gret that I have to in­form you that I had been found in­el­i­gi­ble by way of dual cit­i­zen­ship,” she said.

The cit­i­zen­ship cri­sis came to a head on Oct.27 when Aus­tralia’s High Court reafirmed a pro­vi­sion in the coun­try’s 1901 con­sti­tu­tion that for­bids dual cit­i­zens from serv­ing in fed­eral par­lia­ment.

The rul­ing has al­ready sparked the res­ig­na­tion of sev­eral sen­a­tors and two mem­bers of Turn­bull’s coali­tion in the Lower House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives — deputy prime min­is­ter Barn­aby Joyce and for­mer ten­nis star John Alexan­der.

The loss of Joyce and Alexan­der cost the gov­ern­ment its ma­jor­ity in the 150-mem­ber house, although Turn­bull has said he can con­tinue rul­ing for now with the sup­port of in­de­pen­dents.

Jac­qui Lam­bie

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