Australia Dual Citizenship Row: New Rules To Make MPs Disclose Status

07 November 2017, 12:15 | Isaac Mcdaniel

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Federal MP Kevin Andrews says there is 'deep frustration' in regards to the leadership of Malcolm Turnbull

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Monday he will introduce a new law that will require parliamentarians to declare they are not a citizen of another country.

If they had been a dual citizen, they would need to provide details and evidence of the time and manner in which their foreign citizenship was renounced or otherwise came to an end.

They will also be required to declare the birthplace of their parents, but not their grandparents. The decision cost Turnbull's ruling coalition its single-seat majority in the House of Representatives.

Mr Turnbull says the disclosures could reveal a number of "line-ball cases" which end up in the High Court.

The prime minister said he will be speaking to opposition leader Bill Shorten later this week, and hopes to get approval for the process from Labor and the cross bench.

The High Court last month disqualified Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce for inheriting New Zealand citizenship from his father.

The Australian Greens won't be supporting the plan.

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Turnbull said he had received advice from the federal director of the Liberal party that all its MPs and senators believed they were in compliance with section 44 of the constitution, which prohibits foreign citizens from sitting in parliament.

All of them were the owners of dual citizenships which was seen as a conflict of interests toward the Australian population.

MPs and senators will be required to make a disclosure about their citizenship status within 21 days of a special resolution passing both houses of federal parliament.

The declaration must state to the best of their knowledge they are not a citizen of another country. Current and prospective MPs will have to declare their place and date of birth, and those of their parents; that they are not now a citizen of any other country; that at the time they were nominated, they weren't a citizen of another country; if they've ever held citizenship from any other country; and if they have, details of when they renounced their dual citizenship.

He also said that the onus would be on the MP to provide proof and to perform due diligence; breaking the new rule would mean they'd find themselves in contempt of parliament, and the "political consequences would be very dramatic".

Any politician who makes a false statement on their citizenship would be guilty of a "serious breach of privilege", but it is unclear what the penalty would be.

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