Dual Citizens, and Parliamentary Eligibility
In 2017, the eligibility of several members of Parliament were questioned. Referred by some as a 'constitutional crisis', fifteen sitting politicians were deemed ineligible by the High Court of Australia—ruling that dual citizens are ineligible for election unless they have taken 'reasonable steps' to renounce the foreign citizenship before nomination.
The repercussions of this decision are still being felt to this day. In May this year the High Court of Australia unanimously found Labour senator Katy Gallagher ineligible to serve in Parliament due to holding dual citizenship. This ruling caused four other parliamentarians were forced to resign.
The 2016 census revealed that Australia is increasingly becoming more diverse, with 33.3% of all Australians being born overseas, a number that is projected to increase. It should be noted that 33.3% does not constitute the total number of dual citizens in Australia, as one can unwittingly gain dual-nationality from their parents
Section 44(1) of the Constitution prevents dual citizens from sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives, as the High Court holds that they are under allegiance to, or a citizen of a foreign power. In light of Australia’s increasing multiculturalism, the current citizenship laws have come under question.
SHOULD the ELIGIBILITY requirements for PARLIAMENT be relaxed to reflect Australia’s rising multiculturalism?
Business Insider Australia, ‘Here's why you can't be a dual citizen and an Australian politician’
LawyersWeekly, ‘The war against section 44 and how we can defeat it’