Pray for the Coalition, who were yesterday made to choke on their own schadenfreude after (now former) Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan quit his cabinet position while lawyers determine whether he, too, is in breach of Section 44 of the Australian Constitution, by virtue of holding dual citizenship with Italy.

Unlike Greens senators Larissa Waters and Scott Ludlam, who were both forced to step down due to it being discovered that they both held and had failed to renounce dual citizenship by birth, Canavan says that he was made a dual citizen unknowingly when his mother applied for it on his behalf when he was 25.

In a press conference yesterday, Canavan said he was completely unaware that his mother undertook the application for Italian citizenship by way of his Italian-born grandmother for him without his knowledge or approval. Commentators, however, are scratching their heads at how they possibly could have done this.

As Lateline presenter Emma Alberici said in a video on Twitter after talking to a friend at the Italian Consulate, the process is quite involved:

“I wanted to know what was involved in becoming an Italian citizen once you’re over the age of 18. He confirmed for me that, once you become an adult, you need to present in person and fill out the forms yourself, a parent can’t do it on your behalf.

“He also told me categorically that that requirement hasn’t changed in at least two decades.”

All of which she had confirmed by the consulate:

Given that Canavan said his mum applied in 2006, his application would fall well within that 20-year period.

Buzzfeed political editor Mark Di Stefano, who himself undertook the same process for the same reason (an Italian-born grandmother) in 2011, says he had to be present for parts of this very long, involved process:

So it seems the options are either that: the consulate was highly incompetent, his mum is a criminal mastermind highly skilled at forging documents and impersonating her son, his mum misremembered the whole thing and he’s not actually an Italian citizen, or, lastly, that Canavan is lying to protect his ass.

The decision about whether or not he’ll hold his senatorship will ultimately be left up to the High Court. The University of Sydney‘s Dr Anne Twomey told ABC Radio‘s AM that it’s unclear how they will rule, given they’ve previously been lenient in cases where citizenship has been automatically given:

“That begins to make you wonder, what would happen in circumstances where you had citizenship imposed on you by a relative without your knowledge or consent?

“The problem is we just don’t know what the High Court would do with that.”

Only time will bloody tell.

Source: ABC.

Photo: Liberal Party.