Wednesday, 20 February, 2019

Larissa Waters forced to quit senate

Larissa Waters left and Scott Ludlam right in handout Larissa Waters left and Scott Ludlam right in handout
Melinda Barton | 18 July, 2017, 08:27

Waters became the second Greens senator in less than a week to step down because of the constitutional oversight, with Senator Ludlam stepping down on Friday after a decade in the red chamber, after discovering he was still a New Zealand citizen. "As people would know after the recent departure of my dear friend and former colleague Scott Ludlam, section 44 of the Australian constitution means I can not hold office in the federal Parliament", Waters said in a statement.

It comes less than a week after Greens co-deputy leader Scott Ludlam also resigned, when he also found out he had dual citizenship.

Ms Waters was born in Canada and did not renounce her dual citizenship when running for office, making her ineligible to serve since her election in 2011.

In the case of Senator Waters, that would be former Australian Democrats Senator Andrew Bartlett.

"It is with great shock and sadness that I have discovered that I hold dual citizenship of Australia and Canada", the senator said.

"It is unprecedented to have the resignation of two such outstanding people from this parliament, two leaders of such integrity, such honesty, two people who have done the Greens and indeed this nation proud", he said at a press conference.

I left Canada as a baby, born to Australian parents studying and working briefly in Canada before they returned home.

Sen. Larissa Waters made history in May when she breastfed her daughter in Parliament

Waters said the law in was changed a week after she was born and that she should have renounced her Canadian citzenship.

The Greens senator still holds dual citizenship, despite not returning to the country since she was 11-months-old.

Waters said she had lawyers look over her status over the weekend, following her colleague's discovery, and discovered late Monday afternoon she held dual-citizenship. I am deeply sorry for the impact that it will have.

Party leader Richard Di Natale said he was "gutted" and said Ms Waters had "unfinished business".

Mr Di Natale said the Greens must review its internal processes to ensure this error never happens again.

"I just want to apologise to my party and all the wonderful Queenslanders I represented for the last six years", she said.

Her resignation means the party is facing two senate recounts in Queensland and West Australia.