Senator Stephen Parry Resigns After UK Citizenship Confirmation

Liberal senator Stephen Parry will resign from federal parliament after confirming that he is a British citizen.

Senator Parry said he will quit as Senate President and as a Tasmanian senator immediately after the British Home Office confirmed his dual citizenship on Wednesday.

Yesterday, Senator Parry revealed he had doubts about his citizenship status because his father was born in the United Kingdom and emigrated to Australia in the 1950s.

He later released a statement in which he revealed the confirmation and said his departure was “rapid and an unexpected event”, after 12 years in Parliament and six and a half years as deputy president and president.

“I will not have the usual opportunity to address you in the Senate one last time. I wish to thank all of you as colleagues, many of whom I regard as good friends – from all quarters of the chamber – for your support and confidence in me,” he said.

Senator Parry said he would submit his resignation to the Governor-General tomorrow.

His revelation came after the High Court disqualified five politicians for breaching Section 44 of the constitution, which bans dual citizens from being eligible for election.

Despite renouncing his position, he was widely criticised by the Federal Opposition for not revealing his citizenship concerns sooner, demanding he stand down.

However, his Liberal Party colleagues defended him claiming he was waiting for clarity over the interpretation of the constitution from the High Court.

Mr Turnbull is now under pressure to agree to a full audit of MPs elected and all candidates as a result of the Senator Parry joining the so-called Citizenship Seven on Friday.

Liberals Eric Abetz, Craig Kelly and Llew O’Brien as well as former New South Wales premier Barry O’Farrell on Wednesday called for the audit after Senator Parry became caught up in the citizenship debacle.

Senator Abetz said the integrity of Parliament needed to be maintained, while Mr Kelly said the government’s good work was “drowned out” by the citizenship controversy.

Greens leader Richard di Natale has already backed a full audit but acting leaders of Liberal, Nationals and Labor parties Julie Bishop, Nigel Scullion and Tanya Plibersek have rejected an audit.

The coalition will choose Senator Parry’s replacement from those who nominate.

Nationals senator John Williams has emerged as an early candidate for the job of Senate President, but it is likely Senator Parry will be replaced by fellow Liberal.

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