The Turnbull Government has been dealt another blow, with Senate President Stephen Parry resigning from parliament after discovering he is a possible dual citizen.
The 12-year veteran of federal parliament, who turns 57 on Tuesday, may hold U.K. citizenship by descent, despite being born in the Tasmanian town of Burnie.
The Tasmanian Liberal senator has written to his Senate colleagues confirming he will resign from parliament and as Senate president after discovering he may be a dual British citizenship.
Stephen Parry is resigning as Senate President and from parliament after learning he may be a dual British citizen
Stephen Parry (pictured in 2005 delivering his maiden speech) has written to his Senate colleagues about his resignation
The unfortunate discovery comes just four days after the High Court ruled that former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce and his Nationals deputy Fiona Nash were dual citizens of New Zealand and Britain, respectively.
‘In the event that I am found to hold British citizenship by virtue of my father’s status, then I will clearly be in breach of Section 44(1) of the Constitution and would therefore resign as President of the Senate,’ Senator Parry said in an email to his Senate colleagues obtained by Daily Mail Australia.
‘I would further resign as a Senator for the State of Tasmania and not await the outcome of any referral to the High Court, as I believe the High Court has made it abundantly clear what action is required.’
Senator Parry is now the eighth federal politician to be dragged into the dual citizenship fiasco.
Senator Parry, who was born in Tasmania in 1960, has learnt he may be a Brit by descent
It began in July when former Greens senators Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters learnt they were dual citizens of New Zealand and Canada, and resigned from parliament.
Senator Parry’s potential conflict with Section 44 of the Constitution comes as the Turnbull Government rules without a majority in the House of Representatives, with Mr Joyce preparing for a December by-election contest in his seat of New England.
It follows the High Court’s disqualification from federal parliament of former Queensland One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts for being a dual Brit.
Senator Stephen Parry’s resignation letter to colleagues
After the unanimous ruling handed down by the High Court of Australia on Friday last, there is now absolute clarity about the application of Section 44 of the Australian Constitution. As a result of this I have had cause to examine my citizenship status in relation to my late father having being born in the United Kingdom.
My father moved to Australia as a boy in 1951. He married my mother in 1960 and I was born that same year in Burnie. I have always regarded my late father as Australian, particularly as he undertook his national service and participated as a member of the Australian Army Reserve and voted in every Australian election since adulthood.
Yesterday, I wrote to the British Home Office seeking clarity as to the status of my citizenship with the United Kingdom. This was the first opportunity to do so since the High Court ruling. The British Home office has sought further details from me today, which I have provided, and I await a response. Depending upon the outcome, I may seek further legal advice before reporting back to the Senate. In any event I will report the result of the investigation and any subsequent advice to the Senate.
In the event that I am found to hold British citizenship by virtue of my father’s status, then I will clearly be in breach of Section 44(1) of the Constitution and would therefore resign as President of the Senate. I would further resign as a Senator for the State of Tasmania and not await the outcome of any referral to the High Court, as I believe the High Court has made it abundantly clear what action is required.
Resources Minister Matt Canavan, a Queensland Nationals senator, and South Australian crossbencher Nick Xenophon were cleared by the nation’s top judges.
Senator Parry, who earns almost $350,000 a year, is writing to his upper house colleagues on Tuesday informing them of his decision to resign as Senate President but remain in parliament as his citizenship circumstances are investigated.
The Liberal politician, who turned 57 on Tuesday, is the son of a Briton who moved to Australia during the 1950s, which potentially makes me a dual citizen by descent despite being born in the northern Tasmanian town of Burnie.
Senator Parry now joins seven other federal politicians whose citizenship was under a cloud