BEN SMALL'S RESIGNATION FROM THE SENATE HAS EVOKED MEMORIES OF CANBERRA'S 2017-2018 DUAL-CITIZENSHIP CRISIS
WHAT HAPPENED DURING THE FEDERAL PARLIAMENT'S 'CITIZENSHIP CRISIS'?
In 2017 and 2018, eight Australian senators and seven MPs were either disqualified from parliament because of a High Court ruling or pre-emptively resigned due to being dual-citizens.
It started with Greens Senator Scott Ludlam who resigned on July 14, 2017, after confirming he held the citizenships of both Australia and New Zealand.
His resignation led to a series of High Court referrals and rulings of ineligibility over the two-year period.
Other politicians who were forced to leave parliament over their dual citizenship were Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, Senate President Stephen Parry, Senator Jacqui Lambie and Senator Nick Xenophon.
The resignations triggered a series of by-elections across the country and led to calls for a referendum to change the constitution.
Despite being forced to resign, some of the 15 MPs and senators returned to parliament in the 2019 federal election after formally renouncing their foreign citizenships.
WHAT CHANGED AFTER THE CITIZENSHIP SAGA?
New laws were introduced to prevent a similar situation happening again.
Intending political candidates must now complete a mandatory qualification checklist from the Australian Electoral Commission when nominating.
The checklist covers issues which could disqualify them under section 44 of the constitution such as citizenship, bankruptcy and pecuniary interests.
Evidence of foreign citizenship renunciation or Australian citizenship must be provided as part of the documentation when a candidate nominates.
The AEC publishes the information online.
WHAT IS SECTION 44 OF THE AUSTRALIAN CONSTITUTION?
Section 44 sets out who can and can't be a candidate for the federal parliament.
It states those who are a citizen of another country - including dual citizens - are ineligible to sit in the Senate or House of Representatives.
Other people who are ineligible are those who are bankrupt, those who hold an "office of profit under the Crown", and those who have been convicted of an offence which attracts a year or more in jail.
Australian Associated Press
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