Labor senator asks for High Court referral

Katy Gallagher

Katy Gallagher

Labor is attempting to refer nine federal MPs to the High Court over doubts about their citizenship status.

"Based on all the advice I have available to me, I do not believe that I should refer myself to the Court of Disputed Returns", Senator Gallagher said. These MPs had not provided the needed evidence to prove they weren't dual citizens, he said.

Senator Gallagher's declaration, lodged under new parliamentary rules for citizenship disclosure, also reveals she sat in the Senate as a dual citizen for nearly 18 months after filling a casual vacancy in 2015.

The government did not support referring its own members to the High Court, with the prime minister arguing that the paperwork published on the citizenship register showed that the government MPs did not have citizenship of the countries Labor had alleged.

In a panic, legislators from all parties rushed to check their ancestry and their documentation to ensure they were not dual citizens or that any foreign citizenship had been properly renounced before they became political candidates.

Labor, thrown on the back foot in the ongoing crisis, lashed out at the government with shadow attorney general Mark Dreyfus claiming Malcolm Turnbull was "covering up" for as many as seven government MPs who could have constitutional problems.

According to paperwork she lodged under new parliamentary rules for citizenship disclosure, Senator Gallagher completed a British citizenship renunciation form, with payment, on April 20, 2016.

He revealed Labor was even prepared to refer to court Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg, whose parents arrived in Australia stateless after escaping the Nazis.

Nick Xenophon Team's Rebekha Sharkie did not receive her confirmation of renunciation in time.

Senator Gallagher, whose father was born in the United Kingdom in 1939, did not receive the formal renunciation document until August 16, just over two months past the nomination date for the election.

She said the Coalition has tried to attack her eligibility and reputation and she wanted the matter resolved, which is why she asked for it to be sent to the High Court.

Mr Falinksi told Fairfax Media: "My father was never Polish". As far as the United Kingdom goes, feel free to ask them yourselves.

'I have further sought legal advice ... to confirm my citizenship status exclusively as an Australian citizen, ' he wrote, despite marking a box declaring he had never been a citizen of any country other than Australia.

Mr Hawke and Ms Banks received advice that they had to be registered with the Greek municipal government in order to be considered a citizen despite being eligible.

Referrals to the High Court would likely take place on Thursday or Friday, after the Parliament has passed same-sex marriage legislation.

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