Saturday, 23 February, 2019

Labor senator Katy Gallagher was United Kingdom dual citizen at last election

Labor Senator Katy Gallagher in the Senate chamber Labor senator Katy Gallagher was United Kingdom dual citizen at last election
Melinda Barton | 06 December, 2017, 10:01

Labor is preparing to refer nine federal MPs to the High Court over doubts about their citizenship status.

Those that were flagged in the Labor motion to be headed for the High Court were Labor MPs David Feeney, Josh Wilson, Justine Keay and Susan Lamb; Liberal MPs Nola Marino, Alex Hawke, Jason Falinski and Julia Banks; and NXT MP Rebekha Sharkie.

Australia's 116-year-old constitution bans dual citizens from holding national office and the High Court adopted a strict interpretation of it in October in a country where half the population were either born overseas or have a parent who was.

The prime minister said the parliament should first pass same-sex marriage legislation and then deal with the citizenship disclosures, rather than pass a motion which came out of a meeting in which Labor "bullied" crossbenchers.

"The Labor Party will now be circulating in the chamber, and the crossbench have indicated their willingness to have an opportunity to vote on a esolution that would refer the following members to the High Court".

"He has a number of members who we all know knew they were and were United Kingdom citizens at the time they nominated", Mr Turnbull said.

That ruling robbed Mr Turnbull of his one-seat majority in the lower house, which will be restored on Thursday (Dec 7) with Mr Joyce's return to parliament after he was re-elected in a by-election on Saturday (Dec 2).

"The Australian people are sick of this constitutional crisis, the only way to resolve this citizenship crisis is with the cooperation of all sides of parliament", he said.

The coalition has 73 MPs plus the Speaker, while Labor has 69 plus the support of five crossbenchers.

Ms Gallagher asked for the referral because she was a British citizen on the nomination date for the 2016 election.

But the UK Home Office wrote back on July 1, nearly a month after election nominations closed, requesting original copies of her birth certificate and parents' marriage certificate.

She told parliament she stood by her advice that she was eligible to sit in parliament as she had taken all steps required to renounce her British ties.