Australia: Citizenship drama threatens to widen as spotlight falls on MP’s marriages

The silliness of Article 44 becomes more and more apparent. Only medium-term solution is constitutional change:

Parliament’s dual citizenship drama threatens to widen further after the Turnbull government made it clear its disclosure regime will include marriage.

The original version of the disclosure regime – agreed to by the government and opposition earlier this month – focused on citizenship by birth and descent. It would have required MPs to disclose details relating to their birthplace, parents and grandparents, but not necessarily spouses.

The government and Labor Party have reached consensus over the citizenship issue to hopefully put the crisis to rest but both sides are claiming credit for making it happen.
But the government has now confirmed MPs will be required to disclose relevant details relating to marriage.

Dozens of nations grant citizenship by marriage – or have done so in the recent past – and in a number of them the conferral is automatic.

Is the Parliament in chaos? Here’s how the government’s numbers look
Chief government whip Nola Marino may be a dual citizen by marriage
Questions have been raised about at least one Coalition MP, chief government whip Nola Marino, who was considered at risk of disqualification from Parliament due to citizenship by marriage.

She married her Italian-born husband, Carmelo Marino, in Western Australia in 1972. Official Italian government advice clearly states: “Foreign women who married an Italian citizen prior to 27 April 1983 automatically acquired Italian citizenship on the date of marriage.”

But Ms Marino has now moved to clarify her status, saying her husband lost his Italian citizenship when he naturalised before they were married

The government has also sought to raise doubts about Labor senator Kim Carr, with The West Australian reporting at the weekend he may have inadvertently obtained Israeli citizenship with his marriage to Carole Fabian.

Citizenship was automatically granted to spouses under the Law of Return before 1999. But Senator Carr has denied he has dual citizenship.

Senators have until this Friday to submit their details to parliamentary authorities, with the disclosures to be published on Monday. Lower house MPs will have until Tuesday night to submit their papers.

It is widely believed the disclosures will lead to further referrals to the High Court, potentially creating more Senate vacancies and sparking further lower house byelections.

Nine MPs have already been forced from Parliament as a result of the fiasco, with two government MPs – Barnaby Joyce and John Alexander – now defending their seats in byelections. Section 44 of the constitution forbids dual citizens serving in the Australian

via Citizenship drama threatens to widen as spotlight falls on MP’s marriages

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: