Greens poster boy and renowned good hair-haver Scott Ludlam tendered his surprise resignation yesterday, when it was revealed that he holds dual citizenship with New Zealand, and is therefore ineligible to hold a seat in the Senate.
Overnight, the man who blew Ludlam’s cover was revealed as Dr John Cameron, a Perth barrister who evidently went to great lengths to procure the relevant documents from authorities in New Zealand.
Speaking to The Weekend Australian, Cameron insisted that he was not politically motivated, and that he merely acted as “a citizen” with a “keen interest” in the workings of the Australian Constitution.
Cameron says he was checking into the eligibility of Ludlam as well as fellow Senator Derryn Hinch when he made the discovery. He told the publication that he was surprised, saying:
I checked about three weeks ago with the NZ Department of Internal Affairs and applied to search the register in relation to Mr Ludlam and Senator Hinch. I expected the human headline may not have done it and Mr Ludlam would have done it, but it was the other way around.I received the certificate for Mr Ludlam which showed he was still a citizen but for Mr Hinch the certificate shows that he renounced his citizenship before the last election. I sent the certificate to the clerk of the Senate, however out of a courtesy a few days ago I provided Senator Ludlam with a copy of the certificate.This is not driven by political ideology. I think the Australian Constitution is important. It is the basic law of our country.
Ludlam’s office confirmed that they received Cameron’s communication last week, but waited several days to contact the New Zealand High Commission to verify the information.
Tendering his resignation yesterday, Ludlam expressed deep regret that he failed to renounce his dual citizenship at the time of his election, saying he is “personally devastated to learn that an avoidable oversight a decade ago.”
It remains unclear whether Ludlam will be pursued to repay some or all of the wages or entitlements he earned while in the Senate, as well as the wages of his staff.
He has vowed to fight any such move, saying that his current assets “amount to a fast computer and a nice pair of shoes.”
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott took to Twitter overnight to shut down rumours that he himself was a dual citizen while in office, posting a copy of a 1993 letter confirming his renunciation of his British citizenship.
22-year-old university student and disability advocate Jordon Steele-John, who himself renounced British citizenship when he entered politics at the age of 18, has been touted as a possible replacement for Ludlam.
Source: The Australian.
Photo: Scott Barbour / Getty.