Australian Senate President Stephen Parry to resign over citizenship row

  • Australian Senate President Stephen Parry to resign over citizenship row

Australian Senate President Stephen Parry to resign over citizenship row

Parry's successor is expected to be another government senator.

Current president Stephen Parry's position is under a cloud due to possible dual citizenship, and he has vowed to resign if the United Kingdom confirms he is a British citizen.

He presided over the Senate when six senators did the honourable thing and referred themselves to the High Court to rule on their eligibility and yet still he did nothing to clarify his own status.

"After the unanimous ruling handed down by the High Court of Australia on Friday, there is now absolute clarity about the application of Section 44 of the Australian constitution", Parry said in a statement on Tuesday.

Because my departure is rapid and an unexpected event, I will not have the usual opportunity to address you in the Senate one last time.

His resignation follows that of Barnaby Joyce, the deputy prime minister, who holds New Zealand citizenship, as well as four MPs, including two British citizens.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who is currently in Israel, now faces the double embarrassment of losing three senior Coalition figures after they failed to properly check their heritage before signing their candidacy papers declaring they had no allegiance to another country, as well as Parry being the first Liberal caught up in the continuing debacle.

He quoted former USA president Abraham Lincoln who said in 1864: "I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me".

Liberal member Craig Kelly said election authorities should conduct a full audit of everyone's record and Richard Di Natale, leader of the minority Greens party, supported the move saying "we're entering constitutional crisis territory here".

Parry says the court's decision made it clear he will have to resign if his dual nationality is confirmed.

Meanwhile, despite the latest revelation, the government has yet again ruled out an audit of every federal MP to uncover who is and who is not a dual citizen.