The Tasmanian independent senator, Jacqui Lambie, said an emotional farewell on Wednesday, November 15, after discovering she was entitled to British citizenship by descent because her father was born in Scotland.
Confirming that the UK Home Office had informed her she was entitled to British citizenship, Ms. Lambie said:
"It is with great regret that I have to inform you that I have been found ineligible by way of dual citizenship. I love my father to death and hope to not blame him for this. He has done nothing for which to apologize and he has been my strongest supporter, my loudest cheer squad and my closest adviser," she added.
Am I Gone?
A former member of the Australian Defense Force, the politician revealed that she had asked her father to answer one question: "Am I gone?"
"He said, 'Yes sweetie, you're gone, I think we're gone,' " she told the Senate.
"I don't know who feels worse — me or my dad. I think we're both gutted. We're not sharing love for the bagpipes this morning I can tell you," she said.
Thank you to the Tasmanians who took a chance on me. It's been a hell of a run. https://t.co/UncrpXEZJ7— Jacqui Lambie (@JacquiLambie) November 14, 2017
The Tasmanian senator — who has previously spoken publicly about her son's battle with ice addiction — said she had always worked hard to be a voice for "those who don't often get much of a voice in this chamber."
"Unlike some in this place, who say they are there for the battle, I actually refused to deliver the budget into surplus by driving struggling families into further poverty," Ms. Lambie added.
Thanking her for the passion shown, George Brandis, the attorney-general, said: "It will be obvious to you, Senator Lambie, from the spontaneous expression of affection and, my I say, love that has come from all sides of this chamber, the effect that you have had upon all of the colleagues who have served with you since you have been elected."
He added: "The senate brings together people from all parts of Australia, from all walks of life, from all political philosophies, from all backgrounds, and it is the richer for it. The senate has been the richer for your membership of it."
Ms. Lambie had earlier admitted that she knew her father was born in Scotland, but was satisfied both her parents were Australian citizens.
She said she never questioned her father's assurances that she was not a dual citizen until other federal politicians began to fall.
Indeed, having issued a statement on Wednesday, November 8, Lambie remained confident and stressed she had "no concerns" over the issue.
It was only when she asked the British authorities on Monday, November 13, of her status that she got the news the following day.
In her maiden speech, she told the chamber she was related to, if not descended from a prominent Aboriginal resistance leader of north-eastern Tasmania, having joined the federal parliament in 2014.
Ms. Lambie has already ruled out running in the upcoming Tasmanian election, although she has vowed to press on with her political career in the near future.
Her departure follows the earlier resignations of seven politicians, including two high-profile figures — Barnaby Joyce, the deputy prime minister, and Stephen Parry, the Senate president, after they were all found to have fallen foul of Section 44 of the Australian constitution, drawn up 116 years ago, prohibiting people with foreign citizenship from being elected to the federal parliament.
The latest resignation comes after the Senate approved a new disclosure system on Monday, November 13, designed to prevent a repeat of the citizenship fiasco.
All MPs will now have have to provide information including their birth details and evidence of the date and manner of renunciation. If the required renunciation did not occur before they were nominated, then evidence must be provided of the steps taken to renounce the dual citizenship.