Cit­i­zen­ship row forces se­na­tor with ‘no love for bag­pipes’ to quit

The Scotsman - - Features - By AN­GUS HOWARTH

0 Jac­qui Lam­bie has re­signed as a se­na­tor, barred be­cause of her Scottish-born fa­ther An Australian se­na­tor has ad­mit­ted she has “no love for the bag­pipes” af­ter re­sign­ing from par­lia­ment for hav­ing dual cit­i­zen­ship through her Scottish-born fa­ther.

Jac­qui Lam­bie – an in­de­pen­dent se­na­tor for the is­land state of Tas­ma­nia – tear­fully quit yes­ter­day.

She has be­come the eighth politi­cian to leave the Australian Par­lia­ment in re­cent months over a 116-year-old con­sti­tu­tional ban on dual na­tion­als run­ning for of­fice that threat­ens to bring down the coun­try’s gov­ern­ment.

Ms Lam­bie stepped down one day af­ter the Se­nate set a 1 De­cem­ber dead­line for Australian-born se­na­tors to pro­vide doc­u­mented ev­i­dence they had not in­her­ited the cit­i­zen­ship of an im­mi­grant par­ent or grand­par­ent.

Her fa­ther was born in Scot­land, grant­ing her au­to­matic Bri­tish cit­i­zen­ship by de­scent. “It is with great re­gret that I have to in­form you that I had been found in­el­i­gi­ble by way of dual cit­i­zen­ship,” Ms Lam­bie told the Se­nate in an emo­tional farewell speech.

“I love my fa­ther to death and hope to not blame him for this.”

Ms Lam­bie later told ABC Ra­dio: “I don’t know who feels worse – me or my dad. I think we’re both gut­ted. We’re not shar­ing love for the bag­pipes this morn­ing.”

Prime min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull’s con­ser­va­tive coali­tion could lose two seats in by-elec­tions next month af­ter gov­ern­ment politi­cian John Alexan­der re­signed from Par­lia­ment last week be­cause he had likely in­her­ited Bri­tish cit­i­zen­ship from his English­born fa­ther.

Kristina Ke­neally, a Las Ve­gas-born for­mer New South Wales state pre­mier, an­nounced yes­ter­day she would run as a can­di­date for the op­po­si­tion La­bor Party against Mr Alexan­der in a 16 De­cem­ber by-elec­tion for his Syd­ney-based seat. Ms Ke­neally has re­nounced her US cit­i­zen­ship. Mr Alexan­der must shed his Bri­tish cit­i­zen­ship by the date of the by-elec­tion.

Aus­tralia is rare, if not unique, in the world in ban­ning dual na­tion­als from sit­ting in par­lia­ment. Pres­sure is grow­ing to re­form the con­sti­tu­tion amid grow­ing un­cer­tainty over how many by-elec­tions might re­sult from the po­lit­i­cal cri­sis and which party might end up form­ing gov­ern­ment.

The eight politi­cians who have lost their jobs were dual cit­i­zens of Bri­tain, Canada and New Zealand. Those coun­tries are also mem­bers of the Bri­tish Com­mon­wealth and share the Queen as head of state. The af­fected politi­cians have in­cluded deputy prime min­is­ter Barn­aby Joyce.

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