FILE PICTURE: Senator Katy Gallagher and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten during an announcement on Labor’s gender equality policies.Election 2016 on Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s campaign. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Saturday 11 June 2016. FILE PICTURE: ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher addresses the media after the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting at Parliament House in Canberra on Friday 10 October 2014. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Katy Gallagher looks increasingly likely to face the High Court, as Labor and the Greens seek an agreement with the Coalition for future referrals in the dual citizenship saga.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Labor frontbenchers defended the ACT senator and former chief minister’s efforts to renounce dual British citizenship on Tuesday – describing her attempts as superior to Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and former Nationals senator Fiona Nash.
Greens leader Richard Di Natale said the party would support the referral, provided Labor and Coalition MPs with “legitimate questions hanging over their head” went as well.
“Providing we’ve got surety that all of those referrals will be supported then we’ll certainly support referral of Katy Gallagher,” he said.
After weeks of speculation, it was revealed on Monday Senator Gallagher was a dual British citizen until more than a month after the 2016 election.
Legal advice from British and Australian barristers says she took every reasonable step to renounce citizenship by descent from her English-born father Charles Gallagher before nominating, and that she meets the standard set by the High Court in recent section 44 cases.
But constitutional experts say the reasonable steps test needs to be resolved in a future High Court case.
“The difference between Katy Gallagher and Barnaby Joyce is the difference between night and day,” Mr Shorten said.
“The law’s very clear. If you are a dual citizen you have got to demonstrate that you take all reasonable steps to renounce the citizenship of another country.
“Mr Joyce and Senator Nash had no evidence… they didn’t even try and argue that they had taken any steps whatsoever, whereas Senator Gallagher certainly can.
“So, the difference is night and day.”
He said Labor would work with the Coalition and the Greens to consider a new round of referrals after disclosures from the House of Representatives are released this week.
“The High Court set out in 1992 when the problem occurred – because this is not a new problem – that the first test is to make sure that you’re not a citizen of another country.
“In the event you are, have you taken all reasonable steps to renounce it? Our people have all submitted themselves to our lawyers at the Labor Party and they have all taken reasonable steps,” he said.
Documents provided to the Senate on Monday showed Senator Gallagher was “at the date of her nomination for the 2016 election, a British citizen by descent” and that her moves to renounce in April 2016 took until August 16 to be completed by the UK Home Office.
Amid reports she could have received Ecuadorian citizenship through her mother, she gave a speech to Parliament on September 4, saying she had renounced any entitlement to citizenship through her father, who was born in the English city of Stoke-on-Trent, “out of an abundance of caution”.
She did not reveal she had held and renounced UK dual citizenship a year earlier.
Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek told ABC radio on Tuesday Senator Gallagher was “fine”, despite the revelations.
“Actually the last High Court decision doesn’t change anything,” she said.
“We still have the test that if a person has taken all reasonable steps to renounce their citizenship, then that’s what the High Court requires.
“Taking all reasonable steps is the test that was established and it’s the test that remains.”
Constitutional expert George Williams said Senator Gallagher could survive a challenge to her eligibility to sit in Parliament, but the question of reasonable steps needed to be decided.
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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.