Australian senator resigns after disclosure of NZ citizenship

Joan Terry
July 14, 2017

Greens senator Scott Ludlam has sensationally resigned from federal parliament, after discovering he is a dual citizen of Australia and New Zealand, and therefore ineligible to hold office.

"Recently it was brought to my attention that I hold dual citizenship of Australia and New Zealand", Ludlam wrote. He told a press conference that he was born in NZ, left the country at age three, and moved to Australia at age nine.

He became an Australian as a teenager and said he hadn't realized that New Zealand citizenship "might be something that sticks to you in that way". Under section 44 of the constitution, anyone who "is under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power" can not stand for parliament.

"I apologize unreservedly for this mistake".

"This was my error, something I should have checked when I first nominated for preselection in 2006", he said in a statement published to his Twitter account.

"I could have dug my heels in, but it creates a messy and protracted dispute". I am resigning as senator for Western Australia and co-deputy leader of the Australian Greens, effective today. He was re-elected in 2014 after a special WA by-election caused by the loss of ballot papers by the Australian Electoral Commission during the 2013 federal election.

The unexpected resignation will now likely see the matter taken to the High Court, with the Senate now needing to refer his election to the court of disputed returns, this being the third time this year that circumstances have called for such measures, Rob Culleton formerly of the One Nation Party, and Bob Day from the now defunct Family First Party both themselves being disqualified from holding office. I was naturalised when I was in my mid-teens and assumed that was the end of my New Zealand citizenship.

Baby Charlie Gard to be evaluated by USA doctor
High Court Judge Nicholas Francis said Friday that he was "open-minded about the evidence" to come after the visit of Dr. Chris Gard and Connie Yates are still fighting to take their son to the United States for experimental treatment.

"This was an oversight that was avoidable", he said.

The government could demand Ludlam repay millions of dollars in salary and expenses that he has claimed since 2008.

Mr Ludlam said he hoped that "common sense" would prevail.

A spokeswoman for the former senator said he was unaware of the petition, which only received 10 comments online, or the apparent FOI requests about his dual-citizenship.

Ludlam's Greens colleagues paid tribute to him on Twitter.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale said he was devastated by Mr Ludlum's resignation.

"In the meantime, let's reflect on the tremendous contribution that Scott has made to this nation and to the Greens".

Other reports by BadHub

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