Australian politician quits over New Zealand citizenship scandal

Andrew Cummings
July 16, 2017

Holding citizenship in New Zealand as well as Australia, under Section 44 of the Australian constitution, the former communications spokesman is forbidden to hold elected office in the federal Parliament.

'Someone had done some digging for whatever reason, ' Senator Ludlam said, adding that he understood the person was an interested community member.

Of course, as a number of people on social media have pointed out, Ludlam is not the only Australian politician who was born in another country.

He has vowed to fight any such move, saying that his current assets "amount to a fast computer and a nice pair of shoes".

"It's obviously Senator Ludlam's oversight", told reporters on the Gold Coast on Saturday. "This is an oversight that was avoidable and it's something I should have fixed up in 2006 when I first nominated".

Mr Ludlam, who is also the senator for Western Australia, recently discovered he is a citizen of both Australia and New Zealand.

When parliament returns after the winter break, the Senate will refer Senator Ludlam's case to the Court of Disputed Returns in the High Court. In order to run for election a candidate must be registered, be on the electoral roll and be a New Zealand citizen.

He settled in Australia not long before his ninth birthday, before being naturalised when he was in his mid-teens.

The deputy leader of an Australian political party announced Friday that he was ending his nine-year career in Parliament because he had discovered he had technically never been a senator.

The Greens senator said he was unaware that he still held New Zealand citizenship, putting it down to a simple mistake.

Ludlam's Greens colleagues paid tribute to him on Twitter.

He added, "It wasn't the way I was hoping to go out".

Greens leader Richard Di Natale said he was "devastated" by the news. I'll really miss it, but there are other ways to make trouble.

The ABC's election analyst Antony Green said he thought it was unlikely Mr Ludlam's salary would be clawed back.

'He will continue to be a champion of the Greens movement and a dear friend'.

Speaking to The Weekend Australian, Cameron insisted that he was not politically motivated, and that he merely acted as "a citizen" with a "keen interest" in the workings of the Australian Constitution.

University student Jordon Steele-John, who has cerebral palsy, has been touted as the frontrunner to take the vacant seat.

The Senate and the Department of Finance had pursued former South Australian Family First senator Bob Day and former West Australian One Nation senator Rod Culleton for repayment of salaries and allowances.

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