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Wednesday 27 September 2023 Dublin: 10°C
# Disqualified
Another Australian politician has resigned from parliament over dual citizenship
Senator Skye Kakoschke-Moore found out on Friday that her mother was born with a British citizenship.

ANOTHER AUSTRALIAN POLITICIAN has had to resign from parliament after discovering that she has a dual citizenship.

After an extensive search to determine her citizenship status, Senator Skye Kakoschke-Moore found out on Friday that her mother was born with a British citizenship in Singapore in 1967, when the country was still a colony. Because of this, she too was eligible for British citizenship.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnball announced a set of measures earlier this month, which has made it compulsory for MPs to formally declare they are not dual citizens and provide evidence to support it.

The proposal, which requires cross-party agreement, comes amid a crisis that has seen several politicians fall foul of a previously obscure constitutional rule which bars dual citizens from sitting in parliament.

The Australian government lost its one-seat majority in October with the nation’s Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce kicked out of parliament over his dual citizenship.

‘I’m heartbroken’

Kakoschke-Moore, who was born in Darwin in 1970, had not previously been involved in the citizenship fiasco as she had believed her whole life that she was not eligible for British citizenship.

“Usually, where a parent is born outside of the UK, they are unable to pass their citizenship onto their children when those children are also born outside of the UK,” Kakoschke-Moore told reporters.

“It was my understanding for my entire life that I was not eligible for British citizenship due to that rule.”

Her father made inquiries to the British Embassy as to whether she could obtain a British passport when she lived in Oman with her family when she was 12. The family were told that she was no eligible and Kakoschke-Moore said that she had “no reason to doubt that this advice was incorrect”.

“Knowing that all senators would be required to provide information to the parliament about their family history, I approached the UK home office last week to obtain clarification around my citizenship status to better understand why I wasn’t eligible for British citizenship,” Kakoschke-Moore said.

Their advice was extremely surprising to me – that my mother was born in the former colony of Singapore before independence. This gave her citizenship of the United Kingdom and colonies under Section 4 of the Nationality Act 1948.

Because of this, Kakoschke-Moore was, in fact, eligible for dual-citizenship.

She said that she is “heartbroken by this news”.

In breach of the constitution

Earlier this month, Australia’s High Court ruled that five of seven politicians were in breach of the constitution even though they claimed to be unaware they held dual citizenship.

Four were born in Australia, while one moved from Canada when she was a baby.

Deputy Prime Minister Joyce’s disqualification means a by-election for his lower house seat will be contested on 2 December, upending the government’s one-seat parliamentary majority.

The dual citizenship rule was inserted into the 1901 constitution to ensure parliamentarians were loyal solely to Australia.

However, critics say it is out of step with the modern reality of the country, where 50% of the population are either foreign-born or the children of immigrants.

With reporting by AFP. 

Read: Australian politicians will soon have to prove they are not citizens of another country

More: Australia’s deputy prime minister has had to step down because of his dual citizenship

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