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Katy Gallagher ruled ineligible, resignations follow

Katy Gallagher ruled ineligible, resignations follow

In a further twist in Australia's dual citizenship saga, the country's High Court ruled that Katy Gallagher, an opposition Labor MP in the upper house, was a British citizen when elected in 2016 and therefore barred from standing by the constitution.

She had argued to the High Court that she had taken all reasonable efforts to renounce her citizenship and that the failure of the British Home Office to process her renunciation prior to nomination did not prevent her being from constitutionally eligible even under the High Court's much stricter reading of section 44 of the constitution enunciated previous year.

That decision prompted four other lawmakers in similar predicaments to Gallagher to resign, triggering by-elections for their lower-house seats.

"Those four people must resign, they must resign today", Porter told reporters immediately following the court decision on Gallagher and hours before the subsequent resignations were announced.

Four Labor MPs were forced out of Parliament yesterday because of citizenship issues, after Mr Shorten had repeatedly declared his party did not have a problem with dual citizens.

"It was the day I was endorsed as the Labor candidate for Fremantle", he said.

She has always said that she took all reasonable steps to renounce her dual British citizenship, but the court found that she was not able to do so in time for the election.

The court found there was no such impediment for Gallagher and the requirements of United Kingdom law to renounce citizenship could not be described as onerous.

Sharkie is from the Centre Alliance, formerly the Nick Xenophon Team, the fortunes of which have collapsed.

Attorney General Christian Porter said the ineligible lawmakers should have quit in October, when the High Court last made a strict ruling on the dual national ban.

The Labor line on the decision is that "the law has changed". But the Home Office didn't register that she was no longer British until August 16.

Gallagher had sought to renounce her British citizenship ahead of the 2016 election but the process had not been completed by the time she nominated for the election.

The court ruled unanimously on Wednesday that the senator was disqualified.

"To have my place in the Senate end like this today is very deeply disappointing, but I believe that I have more to contribute to public life", she said.

The procedure to renounce British citizenship was simple and the requirements not onerous.


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