By Jacinta Payne
Scott Ludlam started a domino effect in early July when he resigned from parliament following the revelation that he was a dual citizen to New Zealand. Nick Xenophon makes the seventh Australian Federal politician to be potentially impacted by a dual citizenship issue.
Dr Ian Cook, senior politics lecturer at Murdoch University, says this isn’t an issue for our State Governments.
“Part of the problem is that the regulations, or the provisions, are written into the constitution which means you can’t change ‘em easily,” he said.
“At the state level, we don’t have a Constitution with that sort of status. There’s nothing to preclude anyone at the state level from being a dual citizen.”
The provisions Dr Cook is talking about come from Section 44(i) of the Australian Constitution, which disqualifies anyone who:
“…is under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or a citizen of a foreign power…”
The tripping point that has landed Parliament in this scandal is the Constitution makes no distinction between knowingly or unknowingly being a dual citizen.
It is now up to the High Court to interpret the Constitution and decide if rescinding a secondary citizenship after election is enough.