Experts have called out Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to come clean about the Labor Party’s internal issues over dual citizenship.
Section 44 of the constitution has caused controversy for many politicians over recent months, with more and more being added to the mix.
3 WA federal parliamentarians; Josh Wilson, Madeleine King and Sue lines, have sparked doubts into their eligibility, calling for documentation to prove their dual citizenship renunciations.
The question to be asked is exactly when they were cleared of being a dual citizen. Whether or not the process had been completed and they were officially renounced, when they were nominating as candidates, is the question we need to find the answer to.
Senior politics lecturer Ian Cook, had concerns over how easily the rules for nominating into parliament were skipped over.
He explained how we expect people who are nominating themselves to have have been aware of the rules in place, instead of ignoring them and knowing they weren’t qualified.
“I think that while there’s a certain level of amusement we all feel about this, it does raise the question of competence, it does raise questions of awareness of the political system these people are operating in, so it’s funny but it is also troubling,” he said.
After fronting that the Labor party were not caught up in the citizenship saga, two out of the three WA Labor MPs that are, have denied requests to provide proof.
Mr Cook thinks it’s worrying that they can’t (or don’t want to) immediately produce the documentation needed to make the question of their eligibility to go away.
“You would have hoped that they would have had this stuff ready, could have been there and just shown everybody that they had renounced their citizenship and we could have just moved on”
“The Labor party has been aware of this sort of problem and has been somewhat systematic about it, so it’s not as if it’s caught them completely by surprise and yet they don’t seem to have been ready,” he stated.
There is also question over if Australia is so multi-cultural in itself, why don’t we want out representatives to be from all different heritages?
That’s part of what made Australia what it is.
If we focus solely on Australian citizen ship and Australian-ness, instead of people from other than Anglo-Australian heritages, they’re not going to get adequate representation and have their opinions ignored in policy making processes.
“I think that Australia is a mature place and we are more open to dual citizenships and people having multiple links back to other nations and ethnicities. It’s hard for people that aren’t mainstream white anglo type Australians to feel part of the culture and be represented in our parliaments,”
Mr Cook said a solution needs to be brought forward. He thinks Mr Shorten needs to accept the fact these people weren’t eligible and go back to a recount or have a by-election (depending on which house they’re sitting in.)
“It is incumbent on Bill Shorten to move quickly to resolve this, to get clarity on Labor’s side so that we can move on… because we’re all desperate to move on…” he said.