Opinion: The Citizen-ship still sails
An opinion from Nic Pascal, Auteur
The political citizenship fiasco continues with two more politicians caught up in the dual-nationality debacle that has so far claimed nine, while Deputy Prime Minister – Barnaby Joyce has been put back into office after a windfall victory from a snap-by-election.
Labor’s David Feeney and Katy Gallagher were referred to the High Court yesterday but by the overriding vote of speaker Tony Smith, Liberal Ministers – Jason Falinski, Julia Banks, Nola Marino and Alex Hawke were not.
The actions of Labor leader Bill Shorten, were stated by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as an ‘extraordinary stunt,’ in attempting to refer the four Liberal MPs, “for no other reason than for political advantage”
Senior Cabinet Minister Christopher Pyne stated that negotiations with crossbench members would continue in the hope of convincing them to refer MPs individually rather than in a group with Coalition MPs, as labor wants.
Mr. Shorten is pushing for Liberal MPs to release more details giving evidence that they are not dual citizens, leaving Mr. Falinski and Ms Marino in a state of urgency to provide relevant documentation.
It all began in early August 2017 when a barrister who was researching the Australian Constitution contacted Greens Senator Scott Ludlam (who has since resigned) regarding section 44 of the Constitution – stating in simplified terms that, anyone who holds dual citizenship cannot be a member of parliament.
In a Q and A interview aired on the ABC network on Monday the 11th of December, an audience member asked Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull about the necessity of Section 44, given that a dual citizenship did not by default, discount her loyalty to Australia. Prime Minister Turnbull mentioned that politicians were at the mercy of the High Court who took a very literal stance regarding the constitution and were not obliged to review it.
Furthermore Prime Minister Turnbull did not miss the opportunity to plug his member for Bennelong, John Alexander, in the upcoming by-election on Saturday the 16th of December.
The Constitution is now approaching 117 years of age. It begs the question, how many other sections does parliament strictly adhere to?
The saga continues.