Third Australian politician hit by dual citizenship row — BBCI

Saul Bowman
July 25, 2017

Queensland Nationals Senator Matt Canavan has quit Cabinet after learning he holds dual citizenship.

Senator Canavan said his mother told him last week that she had applied for documents, prompting him to contact Italian authorities.

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.

He said he had "no suspicion" he was in possession of a dual citizenship until last week, when his mother "raised the possibility". "To my knowledge, I've never stepped foot in Italian consulate or embassy", Senator Canavan said.

Canavan said that he had no knowledge that he was an Italian citizen nor had he requested to become an Italian citizen. Canavan's concerns stem from the fact that his mother has Italian ancestry and he could have been automatically given Italian citizenship at birth. I have never been to Italy. "I was 25-years-old at the time". I have, since then, taken steps to check my citizenship status with the Italian authorities, and that has confirmed that I was registered as an Italian citizen in January 2007. In doing so, it would appear that she made an application for me to become an Italian citizen as well. To my knowledge, until this week, I have not received any correspondence from the Italian authorities about my citizenship status, and they have not been able to provide any such records.

The Minister for Resources, Senator Canavan confirmed he had resigned from Cabinet.

"On the basis of the advice the Government has obtained and that George outlined it is not my intention to resign from the Senate", Canavan added.

Canavan's failure to resign from the Senate, while the government attempts to find a way around what appears to be a hard and fast prohibition in the constitution by going to the High Court, will compare shabbily with the immediate resignations of Ludlam and Waters, both of whom were co-deputy leaders of their party.

Canavan's duties will be taken on by Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce in the meantime, according to a statement from Turnbull.

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