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General view of the Australian High Court in Canberra, Friday, October 27, 2017. (AAP)

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten continue to question each other's commitment to resolving the dual citizenship saga, as more politicians become embroiled.

By
MP Singh
Published on
Friday, November 10, 2017 - 17:25
File size
2.72 MB
Duration
5 min 56 sec

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten continue to question each other's commitment to resolving the dual citizenship saga, as more politicians become embroiled.

Crossbencher Jacqui Lambie and Liberal M-P Jason Falinski are the latest parliamentarians to potentially fall foul of the Australian constitution's Section 44, though both deny they hold foreign citizenship.

But as MP Singh reports, some are questioning the section's relevance altogether.

The uncertainty must be resolved as soon as possible. That's the message from Opposition leader Bill Shorten, coming as more federal politicians discover they may be in breach of the Constitution's Section 44. Labor has called for Liberal M-P John Alexander to be referred to the High Court while he seeks advice from the U-K Home Office on his citizenship status.While the Coalition has raised questions over Labor M-Ps Susan Lamb and Justine Keay (kee), Mr Shorten has told the Nine Network he's certain no Labor politicians will be caught up in the scandal.

But Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has accused Mr Shorten of overly-politicising the long-running saga. The pair met on Wednesday (8 nov) in Melbourne for talks aimed at ending the crisis, but failed to agree on a deal. Mr Turnbull announced a bill on Monday (nov 6) that, if passed, forces all parliamentarians to declare their citizenship status, and provide proof of any renunciations where applicable, within 21 days. Mr Shorten says he wants tougher and faster action than the Prime Minister. With the Senate due to deliberate over Mr Turnbull's register on Monday (13 nov), the Prime Minister conceded to the Nine Network time is running out for negotiations.

Mr Turnbull also says he's considering calling back all federal parliamentarians to Canberra for extra sitting days before Christmas to help deal with the issue.

But Nick Xenophon Team M-P Rebekha Sharkie says the crisis needs to be wrapped up before then, telling Sky News it's become too much of a distraction.

Meanwhile, some are questioning Section 44's relevance altogether. The Ethnic Communities' Council of Victoria (ECCV) say the article deters almost half of Australia from participating in federal politics. The 2016 Australian census revealed 49 per cent of Australians have at least one parent born overseas, and the E-C-C-V says those from diverse backgrounds are thus going to be excluded from federal politics.Chair Eddie Micallef [MICK-uh-leff] has told S-B-S, as it stands, Section 44 is creating two classes of citizens.

Mr Micallef is concerned prospective politicians from diverse backgrounds aren't getting a chance to make their impact.

As it stands, state and federal governments don't have a synchronised policy regarding dual citizenship. While unconstitutional for federal members of parliament to hold, their state counterparts can still participate.

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