SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s High Court has ruled an 11th lawmaker must leave parliament after discovering she was a dual national, the Australian Broadcasting Corp reported on Wednesday, the latest casualty in a widening citizenship crisis.
The court found that opposition Senator Katy Gallagher was a British citizen at the time of her election, despite her attempts to renounce it, and ineligible for office, the ABC said.
Dual citizens are ineligible for elected office under Australia’s 117-year-old constitution and the decision is likely to render three other lawmakers in similar predicaments ineligible as well.
The three are not members of Australia’s ruling centre-right coalition, keeping its slender majority safe, but the resulting by-elections would be a litmus test of the public’s mood and the government’s popularity ahead of an election due next year.
Adherence to the dual-citizenship rule, in a country where more than half the population of 24 million were either themselves, or have a parent, born overseas, came under the spotlight last year, with the High Court adopting a strict interpretation of the law.
(Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Darren Schuettler)