Turnbull plan attempts to end citizenship confusion

Violet Powell
November 9, 2017

As such, he may be ineligible to serve in parliament under section 44 of the constitution - the same clause that ruled out deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce and four others. I'm sorry, he's not a leader for this country.

The move comes as the government tries to respond to the raft of dual-citizenship problems that has created chaos, and as Mr Turnbull faces persistent criticism over a perceived lack of leadership on the issue.

Turnbull stressed that this system was not an audit of all parliamentarians' citizenship status.

Mr Turnbull said it was agreed that before the end of the year all disclosures should be made and the two houses would have time to consider whether anyone should be referred to the High Court.

If they had been a dual citizen, the lawmakers will need to provide details and evidence of having renounced their foreign citizenship.

Resolutions to carry out the declarations have to be passed by both houses and the Prime Minister said the penalty for a false declaration would be contempt of parliament.

"Obviously, if a member believes that they are a dual-citizen now and are ineligible to sit in the parliament, then they should resign. But".

Opposition leader Bill Shorten said he was prepared to "meet with Turnbull on Wednesday and engage constructively".

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Mr Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will meet in Melbourne on Wednesday to discuss a way forward, as Liberal MP John Alexander faces pressure to refer himself to the High Court over his potential dual United Kingdom citizenship.

With government numbers now evenly poised in the lower house after Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce was ousted when the High Court ruled he was ineligible, the PM met with Labor leader Bill Shorten in a bid to reach agreement on when MPs must disclose their citizenship status, based on the plan Turnbull announced on Monday.

However, he said he would not do anything that would stop the High Court from arbitrating on any issues which emerged from the disclosures.

The declaration will be made through the parliamentary register of members' and senators' interests.

Alexander's office's claim that his father renounced is complicated by the fact that Australian citizenship only came into being as a concept in 1949 - two years before John Alexander's birth.

If the measure is approved, the lawmakers will have 21 days to provide to the parliament's registrar a citizenship declaration, as well as provide the birthplace of their parents.

Turnbull's comments today, however, bring into question to capabilities of sitting MPs who've lost their job because they are dual citizens.

They must disclose their date and place of birth as well as those details for their parents.

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