Xenophon refers himself to High Court to clarify citizenship



August 19, 2017 12:33:19

Crossbench senator Nick Xenophon has announced he will refer his election to the High Court after discovering he has a form of British citizenship.

Senator Xenophon announced yesterday he had become the seventh parliamentarian to be engulfed by the dual citizenship fiasco in Federal Parliament.

His father, Theodoros Xenophou, is from Cyprus, which was a British colony until 1960, and travelled to Australia as a British citizen in 1951.

Senator Xenophon confirmed today he had received advice his father’s background makes him a British overseas citizen by descent, meaning he is potentially ineligible to sit in Parliament.

The matter will now be determined by the High Court, but Senator Xenophon will stay in Parliament and continue to vote on legislation in the meantime.

The South Australian joins six other federal parliamentarians who have been referred to the High Court, including the Nationals’ Matt Canavan, Barnaby Joyce and Fiona Nash, One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts and the Greens’ Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters.

Both Greens senators resigned when they realised they were dual citizens, while Senator Canavan stepped down from Cabinet.

But Mr Joyce and Senator Nash have both declared they will stay in Cabinet because they are confident the High Court will find they are eligible to sit in Parliament.

That has drawn fierce criticism from Senator Xenophon’s Lower House colleague, Rebekha Sharkie, who said she would no longer guarantee supply and confidence to the Government in the Lower House.

The Coalition’s slim, one-seat majority in the House of Representatives could be threatened if the High Court rules against Mr Joyce.

But Mr Joyce has now moved to renounce his dual citizenship and would have a good chance of retaining his seat of New England if the court did force a by-election.






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