The Curious Case of Malcolm Roberts continues to wind towards a likely referral to the High Court over allegations that he was, and was aware of, his status as a dual citizen at the time of his senatorial election.
In what’s turning out to be an eventful day in the Upper House, One Nation party leader Pauline Hanson is reportedly set to push a motion of referral through the senate herself, effectively meaning that One Nation is sending their own senator to the High Court.
You might recall that this whole brouhaha revolves around whether or not Roberts, who was born in India, was by law a British citizen at the time of his election. Despite claiming that he’s never held any citizenship other than Australian, information gathered from the Immigration Department has shown that to be manifestly untrue.
Roberts received confirmation of his renouncement of British citizenship from the UK Home Office, but that confirmation arrived some six months after his election to the senate. If the court finds that he was a British citizen at the time of the election, his confirmation as a senator could be ruled invalid; this is similar to the case of Greens senators Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters, though in their cases once they discovered their citizenship history they had the good graces to step down voluntarily, rather than plug their ears and scream loudly into a wall.
What’s interesting about Hanson personally pushing the motion to refer Roberts to the High Court is that the One Nation leader is reportedly doing so in consultation with both the Turnbull Government and the Opposition.
The reasoning behind the move is to avoid setting a precedent in the senate for partisan High Court referrals, or in other words more or less forcing Roberts to address the issue head-on himself; a thing he’s doggedly refused to do since the story broke.
Greens leader Richard Di Natale had threatened to push the motion today, but it’s understood that senior reps from the major parties have asked Di Natale to hold off in favour of One Nation doing it themselves.
Regardless, should Hanson not move the motion later this afternoon, the Greens will proceed with the motion themselves, which will succeed with the backing of Labor, Nick Xenophon, and several key crossbench senators.
Ahh life. It comes at you fast.