Jacqui Lambie to quit Senate owing to dual citizenship

Emotional senator says she would consider running for lower-house seat: ‘You can’t keep a bloody Lambie down’

The Tasmanian independent senator Jacqui Lambie has confirmed she will resign from parliament because she is a dual citizen but she has vowed to press on with her political career.

An emotional Lambie told a Launceston radio station on Tuesday she would become the eighth MP to be felled by the citizenship fiasco, but she declared: “You can’t keep a bloody Lambie down.”

The Tasmanian floated running in the lower-house seat of Braddon in the event the Labor incumbent, Justine Keay, was forced to resign because of a dual citizenship.

She said her current Senate position should go to the next person on the Jacqui Lambie Network Senate ticket, Steve Martin, and she would not ask him to make way for her return. “I would never do that.”

Lambie’s departure follows the resignations of five fellow senators; the Greens Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters; the deputy leader of the National party, Fiona Nash; One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts; and the Senate president, the Liberal Stephen Parry. All have fallen foul of the constitutional requirements under section 44.

The Liberal lower-house MP John Alexander resigned at the weekend, triggering a byelection in the Sydney seat of Bennelong. The National Barnaby Joyce is running in his seat of New England after being ruled ineligible by the high court.

Lambie’s resignation was expected, given that she had told a number of Senate colleagues over the course of a chaotic political day on Monday that she was in trouble because of her father’s Scottish heritage.

She is now the second Tasmanian senator to force a recount and replacement process, after the departure of Parry.

When it was just Parry’s departure triggering a recount, it was possible that procedure could have displaced the Tasmanian Green Nick McKim, possibly in favour of a One Nation candidate.

While some political insiders remain unsure how the replacement processes in Tasmania will ultimately play out, the ABC’s election expert Antony Green, told Guardian Australia on Tuesday if both Parry and Lambie were knocked out “there is no question over Nick McKim’s position”.

Lambie’s departure comes after the Senate on Monday night approved the new disclosure system, designed to prevent a repeat of the citizenship fiasco.

The agreed draft resolution will require MPs to provide information including their birth details, the place and date of birth of parents and grandparents, and what steps they have taken to avoid acquiring citizenship by descent.

The resolution requires MPs with dual citizenships to provide details and evidence of the date and manner of renunciation. If the required renunciation did not occur before they nominated, then evidence is to be provided of the steps taken to renounce the dual citizenship.

With several MPs still under a cloud, the agreed process is likely to trigger yet more referrals to the high court and potentially byelections beyond the two under way in New England and Bennelong.

The register was approved on the voices after amendments moved by the Greens and the crossbench were rejected.


Katharine Murphy Political editor

The GuardianTramp

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