Australia's dual citizenship crisis: Will the Malcolm Turnbull government fall?

Marcus Newton
August 19, 2017

Fellow senators Matt Canavan, Malcolm Roberts and Fiona Nash, as well as deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, have chosen to also let the High Court decide their fate.

"My mother was born in Australia and was an Australian citizen", she said.

She told Senate she had little contact with her father and was told she was not a dual citizen.

Senator Nash said she will not be standing down from her ministerial duties while the Court adds her case to its growing list of referrals.

Senator Nash, who is deputy Nationals leader, said the government had received legal advice from Britain and the Solicitor General about her citizenship, and she had met with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull yesterday afternoon.

Senator Nash holds the Regional Development, Regional Communications and Local Government portfolios and sits in cabinet.

The citizenship crisis, based on a 116-year-old law which demands an elected lawmaker only have Australian citizenship, has rocked the Australian Parliament, ensnaring three government members, three Greens party MPs and Xenophon.

Senator Nash's eligibility will be referred to the High Court on September 4.

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Mr Xenophon, whose eponymous party holds two key balance-of-power seats in the upper house, has stymied media law reform plans and criticised Canberra's reluctance to order a sweeping inquiry into the banking sector.

Parliament will refer her case to the High Court when sitting resumes next month, but Ms Nash has chose to remain in her ministry position until then, following the example set by Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce.

The country's High Court has its first hearing on the matter set down for 24 August, and is expected to decide by December.

"My father was born in Scotland in 1927".

Xenophon, who just three days ago joked with Senate colleague Sam Dastyari that he was not a Greek citizen, confirmed he was getting advice as to whether he may be a United Kingdom citizen by descent.

There are the two resigned Greens senators, Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters.

The meaning of section 44 (i) has not been read by the High Court as an absolute bar on a candidate being a foreign citizen.

Earlier, Australian Conservatives Senator Cory Bernardi, a former Liberal, called for Parliament to be suspended until the crisis is resolved.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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