Australia High Court Rules Against Labor Senator as Citizenship Crisis Widens

  • Australia High Court Rules Against Labor Senator as Citizenship Crisis Widens

Australia High Court Rules Against Labor Senator as Citizenship Crisis Widens

Labor senator Katy Gallagher has lost her seat in parliament after the High Court ruled she was ineligible to stand for the 2016 election because of her dual citizenship status. Gallagher first joined the senate in 2015.

The court did not accept that and, in a decision handed down Wednesday morning, found Senator Gallagher ineligible.

"An affirmative answer can not be given merely because a decision might not be provided in time for a person's nomination", the court said.

THREE Labor MPs and an independent MP have resigned their seats in parliament following a High Court ruling disqualifying their Senate colleague Katy Gallagher.

The former Nationals leader said he would have sympathised with the MPs if they had resigned when he did.

Gallagher was aware of her British passport as her father was born in England, so the court ruled that she did not take "all reasonable steps" to relinquish her British links, Xinhua news agency reported.

Labor leader Bill Shorten said three of the ousted MPs would seek re-election. "The High Court has made the decision - these are the facts we've got to deal with", he said.

"I have always performed my duties to the ACT community with honesty, integrity and a desire to make Canberra and Australia a better place for all of us", she said in a statement.

The most marginal seat is Longman, held by Labor's Susan Lamb who has been under most pressure because the Government argues she is still a British citizen. But the Commonwealth says that she was still too late, as the UK Home Office did not registered her renunciation until August, more than a month after the election.

Justine Keay held her Tasmanian seat of Braddon by 2.2 per cent.

The three, along with Centre Alliance's Rebekha Sharkie (Mayo, South Australia), have also used the "all reasonable steps taken" defence.

Before resigning Ms Sharkie said she would take legal advice but believed her case was "materially different to Senator Gallagher's".

He was chosen by Labor after it dumped its previous candidate during the last election campaign, which is when he took action to renounce his British citizenship.