Australia: Matt Canavan quits cabinet over Italian dual citizenship | The Guardian

Yet another dual citizen discovered in Australia. Like the other cases, the member in question wasn’t aware of his other nationality.

It is another example of the problem with C-24’s revocation provision for dual nationals convicted of terrorism (repealed under C-6), as it would have also applied to those with no knowledge of their dual citizenship or their potential to acquire:

The resources minister Matt Canavan has quit the cabinet because he is is a dual citizen of Italy.

Canavan’s resignation on Tuesday night follows the recent resignation of two Greens senators, Larissa Waters and Scott Ludlam, because of dual citizenships – a controversy that has triggered questions about the eligibility of many other Australian parliamentarians.

Canavan told reporters on Tuesday night his mother had applied for Italian citizenship on his behalf without his knowledge or consent when he was 25 years old, in January 2007.

He said he had “no suspicion” he was in possession of a dual citizenship until last week, when his mother “raised the possibility”. The Italian embassy subsequently confirmed he was a citizen of the country.

“I was not born in Italy, I have never been to Italy and to my knoweldge I have never set foot inside the Italian consulate or embassy,” Canavan said.

“I knew my mother had become an Australian citizen, but I had no knowledge that I myself had become an Italian citizen, nor did I request to become an Italian citizen”.

The attorney general, George Brandis, said preliminary legal advice to the commonwealth suggested there had been no breach of section 44 of the constitution in Canavan’s case.

Brandis told reporters given Canavan had no knowledge about his status as a dual citizen, and the “legal uncertainty” surrounding the issue, the government would refer the issue to the high court for deliberation.

Australia’s constitution bars dual citizens from eligibility for elected office, unless they can show they have taken reasonable steps to sever foreign ties.

Canavan said he was seeking advice about whether the registration of his Italian citizenship by his mother was valid under Italian law.

He said on the basis of the government’s legal advice, he would not quit politics or the parliament before the high court’s deliberations.

Source: Matt Canavan quits cabinet over Italian dual citizenship | Australia news | The Guardian


About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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