Australian senator forced to resign over dual NZ citizenship

Frederick Owens
July 14, 2017

"This was my error, something I should have checked when I first nominated for [Senate] pre-selection in 2006", he said, adding that he was "personally devastated". "That section of the constitution is crystal clear", he said.

"I apologise unreservedly for this mistake", the outgoing senator said.

He said he assumed he had relinquished New Zealand citizenship when he was naturalised as an Australian in his teens.

The Greens co-deputy leader is the third senator to fall foul of the Consitution in this term of parliament, with South Australia senator Bob Day resigning in November previous year after his building company went into liquidation.

Senator Ludlam was born in Palmerston North in New Zealand and left the country with his family when he was three.

Mr Ludlam said he could not afford to pay back the money, but was confident it would not get to that point.

'It is entirely my responsibility - it wasn't the way I was hoping to go out'. The by-election became an early test of the Abbott government's rapidly declining popularity and Ludlam's politely phrased, but ferocious, "welcome to Western Australia" attack on Tony Abbott prior to the by-election drew huge attention. I'll really miss it, but there are other ways to make trouble. In the meantime, let's reflect on the tremendous contribution that Scott has made to this nation and to the Greens.

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Following the 2013 federal election, he was initially deemed to have lost his bid for re-election by 14 votes, prompting the Greens to seek a recount, which changed the result in his favour.

He was the fifth Greens senator elected for Western Australia, and has his office in the traditionally left-wing, environmentally-conscious heartland of Fremantle. Steele-John told the Guardian he was unsure at this stage if he would take the spot.

Ludlam, who is incredibly popular with the younger generation in Australia, particularly millennials, was one of the most active politicians on social media in Australia, recently took time away from the Senate in late 2016, to deal with a widely-publicized struggle with depression and anxiety, drawing waves of support form his fellow parliamentarians, and the general public.

A spokeswoman for the former senator said he was unaware of the petition, which only received 10 comments online, or the apparent FOI requests about his dual-citizenship.

He is the third senator forced out of Parliament since the July 2 election.

This is in breach of the Australian Constitution, that stipulates that under section 44 (i) that a person who is a citizen of a foreign power is incapable of being chosen as a senator, or member of the House of Representatives in Australia.

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