Another Greens senator resigns over dual citizenship

18 July, 2017, 08:29 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • Greens in crisis: Key Qld Senator resigns

Ms Waters was born in Canada to Australian parents and came to Australia as a baby.

The Queensland senator'sresignation, effective immediately, comes less than a week after Scott Ludlam quit after realising he also held dual New Zealand citizenship.

The shock resignation now means the Greens will be two votes down in Senate until their replacements can be instated - potentially making it easier for the government to pass legislation in their absence.

Laws, that changed a week after Waters was born, mean the senator was Canadian from birth and must have actively renounced her Canadian citizenship.

Sentor Di Natale said no other federal Greens politician holds dual-citizenship.

I had not renounced since I was unaware that I was a dual citizen.

She said Mr Ludlam's resignation on Friday encouraged her to take steps to check her own citizenship status and she received confirmation from the Canadian High Commission of her ongoing citizenship yesterday afternoon. Senator Water said the other foreign-born Greens Senators had checked and "my understanding is that everyone else is fine". "We have to strengthen our internal processes and we have to make sure that this doesn't happen again".

However, Ms Waters, who was first elected in 2011, said she took "full responsibility".

An emotional Senator Waters told a press conference in Queensland that she apologised "wholeheartedly to all those who have supported me and helped me to become a representative for the wonderful people of Queensland over the last six years".

Ms Waters was seen by some in the party, including former leader Bob Brown, as a future leader of the party.

Waters, fighting back tears as she made the announcement, said she came to Australia at 11 months of age, and thought she was not a Canadian citizen.

It is not known whether Mr Ludlam and Ms Waters will be forced to repay their parliamentary salaries, likely to be well in excess of $1 million given the length of their tenure.

In the case of Senator Waters, that would be former Australian Democrats Senator Andrew Bartlett.

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