08:53 GMT +322 March 2018
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    Senator Jacqui Lambie of the Palmer United Party (PUP) speaks during a press conference in Sydney on October 10, 2013.

    'Proud of My Scottish Roots': Another Oz Politician May Have Dual Citizenship

    © AFP 2018/ William West
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    A high-profile Australian politician has been drawn into the dual citizenship furore just days after new rules were announced to make all of the country's MPs and senators register their status to avoid an embarrassing repeat, where six political figures have already been forced out of office.

    Tasmania senator Jacqui Lambie has become the latest senior political figure to become embroiled in the dual citizenship' scandal that has forced six politicians to quit, and comes less than 48 hours after plans were unveiled to make MPs and senators declare they are not foreign citizens before taking office.

    Scottish Roots

    The revelation comes after it emerged that Lambie may hold dual citizenship through her father, who was born in Scotland in 1950, and may have passed her British citizenship by descent. She has steadfastly denied any suggestion, although does admit her dad was Scottish before emigrating to Australia as a young boy.

    ​In a statement issued on Wednesday, November 8, Lambie said:

    "I'm happy to put on record that I'm satisfied that my parents are both Australian citizens and I have no concerns about me being a dual citizen because of where they were born or came from — in the case of my father, as an infant."

    The suggestion of a Scottish link comes in the wake of a newspaper article published in June 2016, in which she talked about her Scottish heritage.

    "I am proud of my Scottish ancestry and my father is too. I found out more about his family background in recent weeks as I wrote my autobiography ahead of its publication next year," Lambie said.

    ​"His father, my grandfather, came to Australia to enlist in the army, in fact. As far as I'm concerned, all their affairs are in order as are mine," she continued, while welcoming the chance to clear up the matter once and for all.

    "A citizenship audit of all parliamentarians will clear the air once and for all, which is why I'm supporting such a move 100 percent," Lambie added.

    A former soldier, Lambie has established herself as a blunt-speaking politician, supporting the death penalty for Australians who fight for radical Islam, while expressing admiration for Russian president Vladimir Putin.

    She wants to cut foreign aid and has warned of the threat to Australia from China and Indonesia.

    Turnbull's Crackdown

    Under new proposals announced by Oz prime minister Malcolm Turnbull on Monday, November 6, current and future MPs and senators will now have to lodge declarations and produce evidence that they are not foreign citizens before standing for official office.

    Unveiling the plan, which requires the vote in both the upper and lower houses in the country's parliament, he said something needed to be done to ease the public's "legitimate concern" over the lack of transparency over parliamentarians having foreign citizenship.

    A time limit of 21 days will be imposed on current politicians to comply with the new measure, while future members will have to make the declaration when they are elected and sworn in.

    Turnbull met Labor party leader Bill Shorten to negotiate the disclosure system, although it ended inconclusively. Both agreed in principle to disclosure and high court referrals by year's end, but Shorten had been pushing for this to happen at the beginning of December.

    The Constitution

    Section 44 of the Australian constitution, drawn up 116 years ago, prohibits people with foreign citizenship from being elected to the federal parliament.

    In October, Australia's highest court decided that five politicians — including deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce — were wrongly elected because they held dual citizenship. The crisis deepened when the president of the Australian Senate, Stephen Parry discovered on Monday, October 30, that he holds British citizenship.


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    constitution, domestic politics, scandal, dual-citizenship, Australian government, Australian Parliament, Stephen Parry, Malcolm Turnbull, Barnaby Joyce, Jacqui Lambie, United Kingdom, Scotland, Canberra, Tasmania, Australia
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