Liberal backbencher John Alexander could be a dual citizen, leaving the Turnbull government without a majority in the lower house if he’s forced to resign and face a by-election.
Fairfax Media reports that former Australian tennis champion’s late father, Gilbert, was born in the UK and the MP may have British citizenship by descent.
Alexander, who won John Howard’s former Sydney seat of Bennelong back from Labor in 2010, did not renounce any right to British citizenship before standing for election. He was born in 1951, just two years after Australian citizenship came into being in 1949, meaning his father, who emigrated in 1911 as a child, would have needed to renounce his own UK citizenship during that period.
A spokesman for the MP told Fairfax said: “He believes his dad renounced his UK citizenship in the 41 years he lived in Australian before John was born.”
Fairfax says there is no record of Mr Alexander’s father having renounced at any time after 1948 via the British National Archives online search, while under UK citizenship laws from that year, children born to British citizens are automatically given citizenship by descent.
It’s the same law that saw Nationals senator Fiona Nash, Liberals senator and One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts ruled ineligible to stand by the High Court, and which led to the resignation of Liberal senate president Stephen Parry last week.
The government lost its one-seat majority when Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce was ruled ineligible in the High Court decision. Joyce is now standing for reelection in a by-election on December 2.
John Alexander currently holds Bennelong with a 7.8% margin.
The potential problem comes just hours after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced new disclosure rules for MPs and said the Liberals federal director had told him “all of the Liberal Party members believe that they are in compliance with the Constitution”.
Fairfax Media has more here.
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