David Feeney, the Labor Member of Parliament from Batman in Victoria has submitted his resignation after he could not produce any documentary proof of him not being a UK citizen at election time. His resignation was sent to the speaker of House of Representatives. He said to the assembled media that after discussions with his family, he has taken the decision to not seek ALP pre-selection necessary for the by-election. Feeney informed the press that he has written to the state secretary of Victorian ALP stating his political decision.
Not the only one
Feeney is not the only Australian politician forced to leave his seat due to citizenship issues. The Australian Constitution's Section 44 states that any person who is a subject or citizen of any other country except Australia is not eligible or cannot be elected to Parliament. The number of MPs ejected from parliament due to this sole reason includes Senators Sjye Kakoschke-Moore, Scott Ludlam, Jacqui Lambie, Fiona Nash, Stephen Parry, and Fiona Nash. John Alexander, the Liberal MP, quit Parliament when he faced a similar predicament. He came back after winning a by-election from Bennelong seat in Sydney.
According to the relevant documents, Feeney's father is from Northern Ireland, being born there. This makes him a de-facto British citizen. He claimed to have chucked off his UK citizenship in 2007 upon entering parliament. The Labor party itself referred the Batman MP to the Australian High Court. Bill Shorten, the leader of the Labor Party, said that he was shocked at the time when Feeney admitted to his citizenship opacity. The latter praised the decision of the MP and said that the Labor party will put a feasible candidate in the upcoming by-election. He declined to name the probable candidate. Malcolm Turnbull, the Australian Prime Minister, told the media that Feeney should have resigned long ago.
As per Labor sources, Feeney himself wanted to move out of federal politics. This was the reason he does not prefer to compete in the due Batman by-election. The former MP wants to leave politics. He had a choppy period. Feeney, during the 2016 election, did not declare negatively geared property worth $2.31 million. His political standing went further south after he mistakenly leaked important confidential opposition policies written down as briefing notes when he forgot to take them from a TV studio where he gave an interview. Labor sources have put forward Ged Kearney as the possible replacement candidate. The latter is the president of Australian Council of Trade Unions.