Aus­tralian se­na­tor is fac­ing the axe – for hav­ing a Scot­tish fa­ther

● Jac­qui Lam­bie has in­sisted her par­ents are both Aus­tralian cit­i­zens

The Scotsman - - News Digest - By JANE BRADLEY

An Aus­tralian se­na­tor is the lat­est high-pro­file politi­cian in the coun­try to face the axe – after it was dis­cov­ered her fa­ther was born in Scot­land.

Tas­ma­nian se­na­tor Jac­qui Lam­bie, who claimed she was Abo­rig­i­nal in her maiden speech in 2014, strongly de­nies that she may hold Bri­tish cit­i­zen­ship as a re­sult of her fa­ther’s birth­place.

How­ever, in re­cent weeks, five mem­bers of Aus­tralia’s 226-mem­ber par­lia­ment, in­clud­ing deputy prime min­is­ter Barn­aby Joyce, have been forced to step down after ad­mit­ting that they may have un­wit­tingly held dual cit­i­zen­ship – a con­di­tion that, un­der Aus­tralia’s 1900 con­sti­tu­tion, dis­qual­i­fies them from po­lit­i­cal of­fice in Can­berra – in what has been dubbed the “world’s most ridicu­lous con­sti­tu­tional cri­sis”.

Fiona Nash was the first Aus­tralian politi­cian to be forced to step down for hav­ing a Scot­tish-born fa­ther after the High Court rul­ing up­held a strict read­ing of the con­sti­tu­tional dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion of for­eign cit­i­zens from stand­ing for of­fice.

Se­na­tor Lam­bie yes­ter­day tweeted a mocked-up pic­ture of her­self dressed in a kilt, with the word “Freed­dommm!!!” – ref­er­enc­ing Hol­ly­wood film Brave­heart – em­bla­zoned across it.

She ad­mit­ted she only found out about her fa­ther Thomas’s Scot­tish birth­place when re­search­ing her au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, to be pub­lished next year. Mr Lam­bie was brought to Aus­tralia from Larkhall, Scot­land

0 Jac­qui Lam­bie in­sists she is ‘only’ Aus­tralian, although her fa­ther be­ing born in Scot­land may mean she also holds UK cit­i­zen­ship as a tod­dler in the 1950s and her grand­fa­ther sub­se­quently served in the Aus­tralian army.

She said: “I’m happy to put on record that I’m sat­is­fied that my par­ents are both Aus­tralian cit­i­zens and I have no con­cerns about me be­ing a dual cit­i­zen be­cause of where they were born or came from, in the case of my fa­ther, as an in­fant.

“I am proud of my Scot­tish ances­try and my fa­ther is, too. His fa­ther, my grand­fa­ther, came to Aus­tralia to en­list in the army in fact. As far as I’m con­cerned all their af­fairs are in or­der as are mine.”

She added that she was in favour of a full cit­i­zen­ship au­dit of all politi­cians.

She said: “A cit­i­zen­ship au­dit of all par­lia­men­tar­i­ans will clear the air once and for all which is why I’m sup­port­ing such a move 100 per cent.”

Just two days ago, she posted a tweet call­ing for re­tired politi­cians to be checked out for dual cit­i­zen­ship.

In rul­ing against other politi­cians last month, judges said that while it may be harsh to dis­qual­ify Aus­tralian-born can­di­dates who had no rea­sons to be­lieve they were not ex­clu­sively Aus­tralian, “those facts must al­ways have been know­able”.

The judges also pointed to the “dif­fi­cul­ties of prov­ing or dis­prov­ing a per­son’s state of mind” if ig­no­rance of dual cit­i­zen­ship was recog­nised as an ex­cuse.

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