Greens senator Scott Ludlam has resigned from the Senate after discovering he still had New Zealand citizenship, in breach of the Australian Constitution.
Ludlam, born in Palmerston North, moved to Western Australia when he was 3, and only discovered he was a dual citizen last week.
He was elected to the Senate in 2007 and entered parliament in 2008. He became a naturalised Australian as a teenager.
Ludlam faced a legal challenge for his mistake and today fell on his sword, apologising for his mistake.
“I am personally devastated to learn that an avoidable oversight a decade ago compels me to leave,” he said.
“This was my error, something I should have checked when I first nominated for preselection in 2006.”
Ludlam said he did not want to legal fight “particularly when the Constitution is so clear”.
The Greens co-deputy leader is the third senator to fall foul of the Consitution in this term of parliament, with South Australia senator Bob Day resigning in November last year after his building company went into liquidation.
Under Section 45 of the Constitution, he would have been forced to step down from the Senate if he was declared bankrupt or insolvent.
The High Court subsequently ruled in April this year that Day’s election was invalid under Section 44 of the Constitution due to pecuniary interest involving an office building he owned that was leased by a government department.
Fellow Western Australian and former One Nation senator Rod Culleton was booted from the Senate earlier this year after a Federal Court ruled his business has gone bankrupt.
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