Dual Citizenship Row Claims Five Australian Politicians

Five Australian parliamentarians were ejected for having dual citizenship at the time of their election. Senator Katy Gallagher was ruled as ineligible by a court which was regarded by many as a fresh test case. The judgment resulted in four other politicians resigning from their posts. The list of ejected parliamentarians, other than Gallagher, are Susan Lamb, Justine Keay, and Josh Wilson of the Labor Party. Rebekha Sharkie, another ousted MP is from Centre Alliance, a small party.

Rule, broken

In 1917, 10 senators and MP s were thrown out for violating an important constitutional rule. The law states that federal political candidates cannot be dual citizens of any country. The dual citizenship problem has paralyzed Australian politics from July 2017. The issue at one time even threatened Malcolm Turnbull's government. The Australian Prime Minister was in danger of losing the House of Representatives majority due to this law. Turnbull could increase the majority if he could win any of the vacant seats in the lower house.

The Australian High Court gave the ruling that the Senate Seat left vacant by Gallagher could be refilled by counting the back votes from the federal election held in 2016. Other ousted politicians could be replaced by holding by-elections. This is as the lower house attracts a different approach. Gallagher had already referred herself to court in 2017 post queries emerged as to whether she has renounced British citizenship to compete for office.

Labor moves

Gallagher had apologized to her electorate and beyond that, to all Australians. She expressed regret that her audience was forced to suffer disruptions due to her and many Representatives. Bill Shorten, the Labor leader, said three of the ousted MPs will seek re-election. According to the leader of the Labor party, the party has used an earlier Section 44(a) interpretation. The latter is a much debated constitutional rule.

Shorten said he accepted the orders given by the High Court and one must work around them. Prime Minister Turnbull tried to end all confusion in 2017 by forcing all senators and the MPs to publicly disclose all their citizenship history. The Labor party later tried to refer a total of nine Member of Parliaments. The incumbent government, however, used its numbers in parliament to block such moves. The Labor Party, on May 9, gave the argument that a minimum of one government Member of Parliament, Jason Falinski, still encounter multiple questions on eligibility.

Leave a Comment