South Australian senator Nick Xenophon, says he is now checking whether he may be a British citizen due to his father’s nationality.
Australian-born Xenophon, leader of his eponymous three member NXT party, says he will not resign from the Senate if he is found to be a dual national and will also refer the matter to the High Court.
His father Theo was born in Cyprus, which was a British colony until 1960, and came to Australia a decade earlier on a British passport.
Xenophon renounced the Greek citizenship he had from his mother’s side and only discovered the possibility that he may have British citizenship when a journalist contacted him about the issue.
He is now seeking clarification from the UK High Commission.
Last night in the senate, Nationals deputy leader Fiona Nash revealed she was a dual British-Australian citizen because of her Scottish-born father.
She is the third Turnbull government minister whose case will be referred to the High Court, along with her boss, Barnaby Joyce, who revealed he had New Zealand citizenship on Monday, and former minister Matt Canavan.
Nash said that based on advice from the solicitor-general she does not resign from the ministry. The Sydney-born senator, who was first elected in 2005, is the minister for local government, regional development and regional communications.
Section 44 of the Constitution bars people with citizenship in a country other than Australia from standing for election.
The Xenophon case means the future of six politician is now at the mercy of the High Court, including three from the Coalition and the two Greens senators who resigned last month, which the status of Queensland One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts also remains under a cloud.
The future of Nationals leader and deputy PM Barnaby Joyce is crucial to the government’s fortune as he is in the lower house, where the Coalition has just a one seat majority. The remainder of the politicians who may be in breach of the Constitution are from the Senate.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.