South America

Xenophon, Nash referred to the High Court over dual citizenship

Fiona Nash's eligibility for the Senate has now been referred to the High Court. (AAP)

A third cabinet minister has been referred to the High Court over holding dual citizenship.

Cabinet minister Fiona Nash's eligibility to sit in parliament has been referred to the High Court because of her dual-citizenship.

It was revealed in August she held British citizenship which under the constitution disqualifies anyone from being elected to parliament.

Attorney-General George Brandis on Monday said the government's view was that Senator Nash was not ineligible to sit.

Crossbench senator Nick Xenophon has also been referred to the court following revelations he was a British citizen by descent.

Senator Xenophon said he renounced any potential rights to citizenship of Greece or Cyprus before running for parliament in 2007, but it came to his attention in August that he may have British citizenship.

"I have always considered that I am only an Australian citizen," Senator Xenophon told parliament, insisting he had since renounced any British citizenship.

Senator Brandis said the government supported Senator Xenophon's referral to the court but was of the view that he was not disqualified.

"Senator Xenophon's case illustrates how silly this has become," he said.

Labor frontbencher Katy Gallagher also sought to clarify her position on Monday, following media speculation she held Ecuadorian citizenship.

Senator Gallagher said despite her mother having been born in the South American country, she had never received an Ecuadorian birth certificate and was never an Ecuadorian citizen.

She had since sought legal advice from two experts to confirm earlier legal advice that she too had never been an Ecuadorian citizen.

She had also renounced any entitlement to British citizenship through her father, she said.

"I am not a citizen of Ecuador, I am not a citizen of the United Kingdom. I am eligible to serve in this parliament," she said.

Seven parliamentarians have now been referred to the High Court over holding dual citizenship, including Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, former cabinet minister Matt Canavan, One Nation's Malcolm Roberts and two former Greens senators.

Meanwhile, a failed attempt by Pauline Hanson to establish an audit of the citizenship of all senators has been described as a "desperate stunt".

The One Nation leader disrupted Senate business on Monday morning after the chamber rejected her plan, insisting the public had lost confidence in politicians.

Labor's Doug Cameron slammed the move as a desperate stunt to cover for the fact there were doubts about the eligibility of her own senator, Malcolm Roberts.

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