Malcolm Turnbull announces new plan to solve citizenship debacle

Isaac Cain
November 7, 2017

He was born in 1951, just two years after Australian citizenship came into being in 1949, meaning his father, who emigrated in 1911 as a child, would have needed to renounce his own United Kingdom citizenship during that period.

'Malcolm Turnbull should step aside.

"Until this matter is resolved I think that it's going to be an ongoing circus and governments and countries can't afford to have an ongoing circus of this type", he told 2GB.

Turnbull hopes to implement the new rule by the end of 2017. He said his proposal would make the eligibility of the MPs transparent.

Alexander, who sits in John Howard's old seat of Bennelong, may have a United Kingdom citizenship given that his father, Gilbert Alexander, was born over there and may have conferred citizenship to his son.

The Prime Minister has urged MPs and senators to start preparing their declarations now. "The obligation is on each member and each senator to make a full disclosure as I have repeatedly said in recent times".

Federal MPs will be required to declare to parliament they are not a citizen of another country, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced.

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

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The High Court last month disqualified Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce for inheriting New Zealand citizenship from his father.

"This is not an audit", Turnbull told reporters in Canberra.

However, he said he would not do anything that would stop the High Court from arbitrating on any issues which emerged from the disclosures. Those already in parliament would be given 21 days to make a declaration from the date it comes into force, while new lawmakers would have the same period of time from their swearing in.

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

They will also be required to declare the birthplace of their parents.

As such, Gilbert had only that two year window to renounce his United Kingdom citizenship.

Numerous politicians had argued that they had not been aware they were dual nationals due to their parents or place of birth.

Any politician who makes a false statement on their citizenship would be guilty of a "serious breach of privilege", but it is unclear what the penalty would be.

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