Australia

'Not my place to access his circumstances': Fifield denies wrongdoing in Parry's citizenship downfall

Mitch Fifield (left) has confirmed he was told by his Senate colleague, Stephen Parry (right), he may fall foul of section 44 of the Constitution. Source: AAP

The Communications Minister says he didn't breach ministerial standards by not warning the Prime Minister that Stephen Parry was a potential dual citizen

The Communications Minister appeared before a Senate grilling on Monday evening and was asked whether he should have warned the government that the former Tasmanian senator was investigating his family history as the citizenship saga dragged on.

Mitch Fifield and Mr Parry were roommates in Canberra during sitting weeks of Parliament.

Mr Fifield said he had two "informal" conversations with Mr Parry "a couple of weeks, not months" before he was forced to resign.

"There were no formal meetings in his office, nor mine; no appointments made, no sitting down and going through individual circumstances," Mr Fifield said.

Mr Parry informed colleagues on the last day of October that he was urgently seeking clarification of his citizenship through the British Home Office.

He was informed not long after that he had inherited British citizenship through his father, forcing his resignation.

Minister Fifield told the senate committee it was not up to him to rule on Mr Parry's eligibility to serve in Parliament.

"It was not my place to speak to others, it was not my place to assess his circumstances," he said.

"The only senator’s circumstances and eligibility I’ve studied and considered in detail are my own."

Labor has accused the government of a covering up Mr Parry's situation and combined with crossbench senators to force Mr Fifield to appear before the inquiry.

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