Senate Committee Recommends Referendum on Dual Citizenship

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The Senate Committee that examines election issues has spent a considerable amount of time figuring out how best to ensure the citizenship crisis of this parliament never repeats itself.

In a report released today, the committee argues strongly that a referendum should be conducted to adjust section 44, following the introduction of dual citizenship in the 1970’s. More than half the nation possess some form of dual citizenship, meaning this is an issue that will not go away.

The report finds the members of our defence forces may possess dual citizenship, but not parliamentarians.

The Government argues that a referendum would be to difficult to win, and instead is working with the AEC to beef up the application process, which may include producing renunciation paperwork with a candidates application to stand for election.

By-election bonanza

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Three Labor MP’s and a Centre Alliance MP resigned moments ago, following the crystal clear judgement from the High Court.
They will all recontest their seats at by-elections, with the dates are yet to be set. They are likely to be joined by WA MP Tim Hammond, who announced his resignation for family reasons last week.
This will be the first time in the nation’s history that 5 by-elections are contested in one day.

Gallagher ruled ineligible as the spotlight turns to Labor MP’s

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The nightmare citizenship scenario for Labor is a reality – the High Court has booted Katy Gallagher and made it clear that a member of parliament must fully complete the citizenship process prior to the election.

Ms Gallagher has been ruled ineligible to sit as a Senator for the ACT, after her situation was used as a test case by the major parties to unpack what the definition of taking ’reasonable steps’ was with regard to renouncing citizenship of another country.

The pressure is now on Labor as up to 3 Labor lower house MP’s and a Centre Alliance MP could now be heading to the ballot box. Labor are considering whether they will ask their MP’s to resign, or take their cases to the court, which will drag this on for several months.

In one of several judgements, judges argued that the renunciation needs to be completed before polling day.

Labor’s Citizenship Nightmare

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Labor are nervously bracing for the next instalment of the Citizenship crisis – because they’re directly in the firing line.

ACT Senator Katy Gallagher has British heritage. She knew this at the time of the 2016 election, and submitted the renunciation paperwork before she nominated – but it wasn’t confirmed by the UK. Gallagher argues she had taken ‘all reasonable steps to renounce’ which is a key judgment from a previous High Court ruling.

In short, the High Court is considering the question ‘what is the definition of reasonable steps?’ Can it include waiting for a foreign power to complete the renunciation? Should a democratic process in Australia, be hampered by the administration of another country?

The High Court has traditionally been very strict in this area, and this is an important test case.

If Gallagher is booted by the court, it could spell disaster for Shorten as there are Labor MP’s in the same scenario – which would result in 4 by-elections, some of which were won by a handful of votes.

#Auspol #Citizenship #Labor

Cyclone Newspoll

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Federal Politics is bracing for Cyclone Newspoll, expected to make landfall early Monday morning. As you know we seldom focus on opinion polling – it rarely drives good public policy and is often used to fuel an unhelpful theatrical element of politics.

We’re making an exception today to note that 30 negative Newspoll results were used as a yardstick for mounting a challenge to the leadership of Tony Abbott in 2015 – in amongst a number of other issues that the then Communications Minister used to argue for a change in leadership.

So will the PM be booted on Monday?

Absolutely not. This will be an opportunity for a bit of anti-Turnbull ‘sniping’, and then we’ll all move on. For now.

#Auspol #Newspoll

Michael McCormack elected Nationals leader as Joyce saga ends

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#Breaking Michael McCormack has been elected the new Leader of the National Party and Deputy Prime Minister.
He won the contest from late entrant into the race – George Christiansen!
Born in Wagga Wagga, Michael has been the member for Riverina since 2010. A former journalist, he is currently the Veterans Affairs Minister, and will enter the cabinet for the first time, possibly as the minister for Small Business.
His elevation comes as Dr David Gillespe withdrew from the contest yesterday as well as David Littleproud, who was canvassing support as late as last night.
Barnaby Joyce now sits on the backbench.

Joyce matters implode as Nationals Partyroom supports leader

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Truth be told, we haven’t written anything about Barnaby this week as each time we got close, the situation exploded again.
Together with the improper employment allegations of his new partner, Joyce has faced further pressure over receiving a house rent free for 6 months. The owner of the house, offered him this to him as a gift, noting his personal circumstances. The pair are friends.
Labor has uncovered that the owner of the house also owns a hotel in Armidale, which the government has used for functions in the past, paid for by the taxpayer. 

This new set of questions revealed on Thursday came at a point where tensions inside the Nationals were beginning to simmer.

Mr Joyce is now on personal leave next week. All reports from Nationals HQ is that they are solidly behind him as the leader.

Brandis resigns from the Senate to become the UK High Commissioner

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After more than a decade in the Parliament, George Brandis resigned as a Senator on Wednesday.

A victim of the cabinet reshuffle last December, Mr Brandis will become the next High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.

In his valedictory speech that traversed many topics, Mr Brandis called upon his colleges to return to the classical forms of liberalism and keep a watchful eye on further attacks on Australia’s institutions.

This was no doubt a subtle elbow to the ribs for the Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, who took responsibility for several security organisations off the Attorney General’s Department.

Mr Brandis listed his two greatest achievements in office – the passing of the Same-Sex Marriage bills and the newly created counter Terrorism legislation.

Dual Citizenship scandal continues as Lamb details missing documents

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Susan Lamb has detailed why she hasn’t been able to clarify her citizenship.

The marginal Queensland MP claims she is unable to access her parent’s marriage certificate as her father has died and she has been estranged from her mother since childhood.
But within minutes of the speech, journalists clarified with Queensland authorities that she could have access to the marriage certificate due to ‘exceptional circumstances’.
This, together with the fact that The Australian has tracked down her estranged mother, who has confirmed she is willing to obtain the documents, points to more of a delaying tactic, rather than a genuine roadblock.

Her statement hasn’t shifted anyone in the Government – they may still refer her to the High Court. #auspol

What happened over the summer?

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It’s great to be back in 2018!

Here’s a snapshot of what happened over the summer:

  • Citizenship: Jacqui Lambie has resigned (she’s Scottish) and the Liberal’s Jim Molan replaced Senator Fiona Nash today.
  • Susan Lamb, Josh Wilson, Justine Keay, Rebeka Sharkie and Jason Falinski still have questions to answer
  • John Alexander won the Bennelong by-election, following the discovery of his dual citizenship
  • Labor’s David Feeney has resigned as the member for Batman, setting up a Labor/Green by-election
  • Sam Dastyari resigned as a Senator, following too many unanswered questions about his connections to Chinese businessmen
  • His vacancy will be filled by Kristina Keneally, Labor’s unsuccessful candidate for Bennelong
  • Tasmania and South Australia are in election mode in state polls in a few weeks
  • Independent Senator Lucy Gichuhi has turned blue! She now sits as a Liberal Senator for South Australia
  • Lyle Shelton has quit the Australian Christian Lobby and has joined Cory Bernadi’s Australian Conservatives.
We’ll let you know if anything else happens!