High Court decision leaves ACT Labor with a tangled preselection mess

May 10, 2018, 06:46
High Court decision leaves ACT Labor with a tangled preselection mess

The latest resignations amid the citizenship saga, along with the departure of Labor MP Tim Hammond for family reasons, have prompted five by-elections in Queensland, WA, and Tasmania.

Rebekha Sharkie, Josh Wilson, Susan Lamb and Justine Keay have also announced today they are quitting Parliament in the wake of the Gallagher ruling.

The decision of the High Court to rule Katy Gallagher ineligible has led to the resignation of three MPs, as Labor feels the full brunt of the citizenship scandal.

Section 44 (i) of Australia's constitution bars "citizens of a foreign power" from serving in parliament, including dual citizens, or those entitled to dual citizenship.

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"If Labor was to lose that, it'd be a huge fillip for Turnbull", Dr Economou said.

Gallagher had argued that although she was a dual national when elected in 2016, she had taken all reasonable steps to renounce the British citizenship she inherited from her father.

The Centre Alliance MP, who formerly worked for the Nick Xenophon Team, stood down today despite saying earlier that her case was "materially different" to that of Labor's Katy Gallagher.

Attorney General Christian Porter said the ineligible lawmakers should have quit in October, when the High Court last made a strict ruling on the dual national ban.

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Asked if Ms Lamb had retrieved the documents, Mr Shorten said: "I am not aware of each piece of paper that she has".

"It is a crystal clear clarification of the law as it was stated in the [Matt] Canavan decision previous year, and anyone, Bill Shorten or anyone else, who says this is a reinterpretation or a change, is talking absolute rubbish", he said.

It is understood she applied for renunciation months before voters went to the polls and it took the British Home Office 118 days to complete the process.

All four had the same defence as Gallagher in their dual citizenship case.

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"To the people of the (Australian Capital Territory), I'm very sorry that this disruption has occurred to one of your federal representatives", she said on Wednesday. "It is quite clear that Great Britain does not provide an insurmountable obstacle for any person wishing to renounce their citizenship", he added.