Mum Did It: The Canavan Argument, Citizenship and the Australian Constitution

A real Italian never blames his mum.

— Australian Greens Senator Richard Di Natale, SBS, Jul 27, 2017

It has raged, and continues to do so, like a pestilence emptying the benches of the Australian parliament. Who will be the next to be carried off into political oblivion for violating section 44 of the Australian constitution, a dull but supremely destructive provision that disqualifies dual-citizenship holders from holding office?

The Greens were the first to be ravaged by the constitutionally driven illness, with Senators Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters making their own discoveries that they had citizenships they were ignorant off.  Both duly fell on their positioned swords, the latter with more feeling than the former.

Then came questions about One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts, who still insists that he has neither British nor Indian connections.  He reiterated to The Australian that he renounced his British citizenship on June 6 last year, though remains indifferent to producing the proof.

The same paper uncovered last Friday British High Commission records showing that the senator was born a British citizen, and that he had travelled on a British passport as a baby.  But Roberts, keeping matters tantalizing, has tweeted that he has the “necessary” documentation and “will soon release details of dual citizenship review I have called for.” (The desperation that calls for deflection.)

Novel excuses are being proffered in the latest round of…

Read more