Ninth Australian MP quits over dual citizenship issue

Skye Kakoschke-Moore, a South Australian politician who was first elected two years ago to Australia’s Parliament as a senator, has become the ninth Australian MP to resign over the discovery that she is a dual citizen.

The growing list of former Australian MPs with dual nationalities will be seen by citizenship experts around the world as fresh evidence of the need for cross-border individuals to take such matters seriously, especially when it comes to their childrens’ citizenships.

The Australian constitution holds that MPs may not be citizens of a foreign nation, even if they are Australian citizens – and even if the additional citizenship wasn’t known to the individual politicians previously.

Kakoschke-Moore, of the centrist NXT party, had been born in Darwin, and although her mother had been born in Singapore, it was while Singapore was a British colony, and had been a British citizen.

The confusion arose, according to media reports of the matter, because Kakoschke-Moore had been under the impression that she could not have been eligible for British citizenship, because she didn’t think a parent born outside of the UK could pass their citizenship on to any children also born outside the country.

Her father had even made inquiries as to whether she could get a British passport when the family lived in Oman when she was 12 but he had been told she was not eligible, The Sydney Morning Herald reported today, quoting the 31-year-old politician.

The publication quoted Kakoschke-Moore as saying: “Knowing that all senators would be required to provide information to the Parliament about their family history, I approached the UK Home Office last week to obtain clarification around my citizenship status, to better understand why I was ineligible for British citizenship.

“Their advice was extremely surprising to me. They advised that my mother was born in the former colony of Singapore before independence. This gave her citizenship of the United Kingdom and colonies under section 4 of the British Nationality Act 1948.

“She was therefore able to pass her citizenship on to any children born outside of the UK.

“I am therefore a British citizen.

“I am resigning from the Senate today, and will be requesting that my matter be referred to the High Court when the Senate sits next week.”

The eight other MPs forced out of Australia’s Parliament for being dual citizens, according to The SMH,  include former cabinet ministers Barnaby Joyce and Fiona Nash, of the Nationals party; Liberal former senate president Stephen Parry and backbencher John Alexander; Greens Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters; One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts and independent senator Jacqui Lambie.

Another NXT parliamentarian, Rebekha Sharkie, has also faced questions about her eligibility for Parliament, as she was born in England, The SMH noted.

American passport issues

Another passport that has been causing problems in Expatland for those who hold it is that of the US, since it is the only country apart from Eritrea that taxes on the basis of citizenship rather than residency, with the result that the only way for Americans to get out of filing income tax returns and potentially owing tax to the US authorities is to renounce their citizenships – an expensive and time-consuming process.

Until recently American expats didn’t normally have a problem, but after the global financial crisis the US authorities began to crack down on Americans with overseas bank accounts, and in the process, began to come after the 9 million Americans estimated to live outside the US – including many who had not set foot back in the States since they were born, or were small children.

As reported, among those who have renounced their American citizenships recently was British foreign minister Boris Johnson, whose dual nationality didn’t prevent him from holding office in the UK, but who has complained of its inconvenience and also suggested it could be misconstrued by voters.  Although he grew up in the UK, Johnson had been born in the US.

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