One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts looks set to face the High Court over concerns that he was a dual national when he stood for election last year, with his party leader, Pauline Hanson, backing his plan to refer himself to the court.
Fairfax Media says Hanson has been in talks with the Turnbull government and Opposition about the plan.
Hanson just released the following statement on the issue:
As the leader of One Nation I have always made it quite clear that there should be the highest level of openness, transparency and accountability in Government.
With that in mind, One Nation will be supporting Senator Malcolm Roberts’ in his plan to refer himself to the High Court. It was always Senator Roberts’ intention to submit his citizenship documents for public scrutiny and, in light of the major parties decision not to hold a full inquiry into the citizenship of Senators, it was deemed that the High Court would provide Senator Roberts the best opportunity to prove he has complied with the Australian Constitution and is a lawfully elected Senator of the Australian Parliament.
The people of Australia have a right to know if their representatives are elected according to the Constitution of Australia and we hope these actions taken by Senator Roberts’ serve as an example to all Parliamentarians that the onus is on them to prove to the people of Australia that they were legitimately elected under section 44 of the Australian Constitution.
Senator Roberts has my full backing and total support from his fellow One Nation Senators.
The Greens were pushing to have the validity of his election examined by the court, but needed the support of the crossbench and Labor to succeed after the government ruled out backing the motion.
Yesterday Buzzfeed uncovered documents signed by Roberts when he was an adult that contradict his claims that he was only ever an Australian citizen.
Buzzfeed obtained official Australian documents from the Department of Immigration through the National Archives in Queensland. They show the family of the Indian-born senator applied to become Australian citizens on May 8, 1974, and Roberts, then 19, signed one of the documents saying he was a “British UK and colonies” citizen.
The One Nation senator, who has repeatedly refused to release documentation to support his claims, saying last month that he was “choosing to believe” he was never British after evidence emerged last that he traveled as a child on a UK passport.
Two Greens senators resigned from parliament last month after discovering they were dual citizens because of their birthplace, while former Turnbull government minister Matt Canavan stepped down from Cabinet, saying his mother registered the 36-year-old Australian-born Queensland senator as an Italian citizen a decade ago, but did not tell him. Canavan plans to contest the matter in the High Court.
Hanson promised last week that Roberts would provide the parliament with documents showing he was in the clear when parliament returned on Tuesday, but her colleague failed to meet that deadline.
Fairfax says that Coalition and Labor representatives have asked Greens leader Richard Di Natale to not present his motion today, giving Hanson the opportunity to take the lead.
If that doesn’t happen, then the Greens motion is likely to be presented and with support from the Nick Xenophon Team and others, end up in the High Court.
Central to the concerns of the major parties was not being seen to be taking political advantage of rivals over the issue.
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