July 18 (UPI) — A second Australian senator has resigned from public service after discovering she has dual citizenship, and is also Canadian — a violation of the Australian constitution.
Larissa Waters, Australian Greens party member and Queensland lawmaker, announced her resignation Monday after learning of the fact.
Born in Canada to Australian parents, she is barred from serving as a legislator by the Australian constitution, which forbids anyone “under any acknowledgment of allegiance obedience or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or a citizen of a foreign power” from serving in Canberra’s Parliament.
In a statement Monday, Waters — a party co-leader in the Senate — said she would renounce her Canadian citizenship. In May, she made headlines after breastfeeding her new baby at a parliamentary session.
The other co-leader, Scott Ludlam, resigned last week after learning he also has the dual citizenship in New Zealand and Australia.
Ludlam’s departure caused Waters to investigate her own citizenship status. Their resignations triggered research of loyalty by about 20 parliament members and cabinet ministers who were not born in Australia. They include government figures born in India, Singapore, Iran and Nigeria, and when Iranian-born Sen. Sam Dastyari was asked if he had renounced his Iranian citizenship, he assented, saying, “I’m not that friggin’ stupid.”
Dastyari added that he had spent $20,000 on legal fees to ensure he is compliant with the constitution.
Prior to the resignations of Waters and Ludlam, the Australian Greens party held nine of the 76 seats in Australia’s Senate.