Tense moment a Labor MP calls an ABC TV reporter a maggot

This is the moment Australia’s dual citizenship crisis reached boiling point with a Labor MP accusing an ABC TV journalist of being a ‘maggot’.

Former Lateline presenter Matt Wordsworth was grilling marginal seat Tasmanian MP Justine Keay on her family links to the UK at Parliament House in Canberra when a parliamentary colleague had enough.

Ms Keay, the member for Braddon, asserted she had legal advice clearing her of being a dual citizen, as the Turnbull Government threatens to refer her to the High Court.


Tasmanian Labor MP Brian Mitchell (right) call ABC reporter Matt Wordsworth a ‘maggot’

‘You haven’t clearly read any of the legal opinion that I have received,’ she said to the reporter.

‘It’s not my opinion, it’s the opinion of the QC and citizenship experts in the UK.’

Fellow Tasmanian Labor MP Brian Mitchell, who holds the neighbouring seat of Lyons, had enough of his colleague being grilled.

‘Go and do your research, maggot,’ he said.

Labor's member for Braddon Justine Keay told the ABC she had advice showing she wasn't a dual UK citizen

Labor’s member for Braddon Justine Keay told the ABC she had advice showing she wasn’t a dual UK citizen

Labor MP Justine Keay accused ABC reporter Matt Wordsworth of failing to read her advice

Labor MP Justine Keay accused ABC reporter Matt Wordsworth of failing to read her advice

Undeterred, Mr Wordsworth continued asking Ms Keay about her citizenship status in the courtyard of Parliament House.

‘If I may ask the question?,’ he replied, before following the Tasmanian MPs to a side door.

Ms Keay, whose father was born in the UK, received confirmation she had renounced her citizenship on July 8, 2016, six days after last year’s election.

However she insisted she had legal advice saying she had renounced her UK citizenship on the day she posted her documents. 

Tensions are high in Canberra as the government and the opposition threaten to refer each other’s MPs to the High Court to rule on their eligibility to sit in federal parliament.

Ms Keay is in the Turnbull Governnment’s sights, along with fellow lower house Labor MPs David Feeney, Susan Lamb and Josh Wilson, and Senator Katy Gallagher, for their possible dual citizenship links to Britain. 

Labor is exploring if Industry Minister Arthur Sinodinos, junior ministers Alex Hawke and Michael McCormack and backbencher Julia Banks are dual Greek citizens.

Justine Keay

The Turnbull government is gunning for Labor MPs Justine Keay (right) and Susan Lamb (left)

First-term MP Jason Falinski is also in their sights for his link to Poland while Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg Hungarian’s connection is in the spotlight.

Liberal backbenchers Ross Vasta and Nola Marino are being scrutinised for their links to Italy.

More than a dozen federal politicians could be facing the High Court next year following the release of citizenship disclosures to see if they comply with Section 44 of the Constitution.

Nick Xenophon Team MP Rebekha Sharkie’s eligibility is also in doubt. 

Mr Feeney says he will be asking to be referred to the High Court on Thursday if documents relating to his UK citizenship renunciation can’t be found in time, potentially triggering a by-election in his marginal inner-Melbourne seat of Batman, which the Greens almost won in 2016.

Senator Katy Gallagher (pictured) could also facing the High Court next year over her UK link

Senator Katy Gallagher (pictured) could also facing the High Court next year over her UK link

Nick Xenophon Team MP Rebekha Sharkie's (pictured above) eligibility is also in doubt

Nick Xenophon Team MP Rebekha Sharkie’s (pictured above) eligibility is also in doubt

Energy and Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg

Minister for Industry Arthur Sinodinos

Cabinet ministers Josh Frydenberg (left) and Senator Arthur Sinodinos (right) are in Labor’s sights

He famously forgot to declare a $2.3 million investment property in Melbourne last year.

Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus defended Mr Feeney’s sloppiness on Tuesday night, while insisting the coalition could be a ‘constitutionally illegitimate government.’

‘We’ve seen a continuing cover-up out of a system that was meant to provide disclosure,’ Mr Dreyfus told reporters, adding referrals to the High Court shouldn’t be made on a tit-for-tat basis.

Cabinet minister Christopher Pyne hit back, seizing on the four Labor MPs ‘London to a brick heading for by-elections’.

Michael McCormack

Labor’s hit list on the government benches includes coalition MPs Ross Vasta and Michael McCormack (right)

‘Bill Shorten has been harbouring these people for the last six months,’ Mr Pyne told 6PR Perth Radio.

Mr Falinski has sought further legal advice after being unable to ascertain whether his USSR-born father, Polish and British born grandfathers and Leningrad-born grandmother conferred foreign citizenship on him.

Mr Vasta’s declaration did not provide evidence he renounced his Italian citizenship in 2001. 

Labor is exploring assistant minister  

Labor is exploring assistant minister  

Julia Banks

Liberal MPs Nola Marino (left) and Julia Banks (right) are also facing questions about their citizenship

Ms Lamb, whose father was born in Scotland, filled out her renunciation form on May 24, 2016.

However, on August 10, 2016, the British bureaucracy told her: ‘We cannot be satisfied from the documents available that you hold British citizenship. The application has therefore been refused.’

Mr Wilson, who was born in London, completed his renunciation form on May 12, 2016

However, the date of the UK Home Office letter confirming renunciation was June 24, well after the close of nominations for the 2016 election.

Ms Sharkie renounced her British ties on April 19 last year, but did not get confirmation until June 29, after nominations closed. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk