If there’s an end to the dual citizenship drama in the 45th Australian Parliament, it is definitely hiding behind the crest of a hill somewhere, because it is absolutely nowhere in sight. This afternoon saw the release of the citizenship register – an attempt to finally figure out all the places people might have inherited foreign citizenship from and the steps they’ve taken to renounce it – and it looks likely to have claimed at least one scalp.
So far, unlike the Greens, One Nation, the Liberal Party, the Nationals, and the Nick Xenophon Team, Labor has managed to escape unscathed from the carnage, although this might change with the revelation that Labor MP David Feeney doesn’t have the documentation to prove that he renounced his British citizenship.
I accept I have been unable to produce the requisite notice of renunciation with respect to the United Kingdom. I remain hopeful that continuing searches of UK records and archives will clarify this matter in my favour.
Nonetheless, I accept that at this moment my status as a citizen under UK law remains unclear.
This revelation is particularly ~spicey~ because Bill Shorten was downright adamant that Labor had done the due diligence and wouldn’t be caught out while everyone else’s MPs were dropping like flies. Shorten, not one to hedge his words, was pretty certain, as you can see in this exchange:
Feeney has said that if they are unable to locate evidence of his successful renunciation of his citizenship, he would request to be referred to the high court so they can rule on his eligibility.
The SMH is suggesting that, if he is found to be ineligible, the seat of Batman could well go to a by-election early next year, with a fair chance the seat could go to the Greens.
It’s likely Feeney won’t be the last person revealed in the register, so watch this space.