Labor Senator Katy Gallagher refers herself to High Court over dual citizen concerns

Published: 06 December 2017 Image credit: Twitter

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ACT Senator Katy Gallagher has temporarily removed herself from Labor’s frontbench and has been referred to the High Court, after it was revealed she was a British citizen when she was nominated for the 2016 election.

She maintains she took all ‘reasonable’ steps to renounce her British citizenship inherited through her father before she was nominated, but a delay in processing by the British Home Office meant she didn’t receive confirmation until two months after she was nominated.

Labor Senate leader Penny Wong said Labor had received ‘compelling legal advice’ that Senator Gallagher was qualified to remain in parliament.

“She has taken all the steps required under the showing constitution to qualify to stand for election as a member of this parliament but it is now clear that the attacks on her will not stop, that these attacks are undermining the dignity and standing of this parliament, and the only way to bring an end to the attacks and restore the standing and dignity of this senator is to have the High Court settle this once and for all,” she said.

Senator Gallagher said she had been upfront with information about her citizenship status.

“I have provided more information than anyone on my citizenship status, and anyone who reads the full disclosures can see for themselves the difference in standard and content that exists across this side of the chamber,” she said.

“While I do not agree with the need for this referral, I do not resent it.”

It comes as four Labor MPs and crossbencher Rebekha Sharkie face calls to refer themselves to the High Court after a citizenship audit of all MPs.

Labor’s Tony Burke has conceded backbencher David Feeney may have to be referred due to lack of exonerating evidence, but has defended the other MPs: Justine Keay, Josh Wilson and Susan Lamb.

He argued they had taken steps to renounce their citizenship.