Citizenship saga

The recent debacle enveloping the Federal Government and the Parliament in general regarding the citizenship status of numerous MPs has become a disaster.
The list of politicians under a cloud – even after the High Court’s recent decision which ruled that five MPs were elected illegally – continues to dribble out on a regular basis.
Last week Liberal Party Senate president Stephen Parry finally came forward (after knowing he was likely in breach for many weeks) and admitted he may also have been elected illegally and this week John Alexander joined the growing line of crestfallen MPs and revealed his electoral legitimacy may also be in doubt.
Have no fear, there will be more.
This sorry state of affairs has been dragging on for months, hampering good government, dominating the headlines and further undermining the public’s confidence in the political system and those who inhabit the corridors of power.
Ever since the matter was first brought into the public realm, the inability or unwillingness of Malcolm Turnbull to take ownership of the issue and prevent it from festering into the open wound it has become shows a distinct lack of leadership.
Perhaps he didn’t want to ‘own it’ because he knew the true extent of the problem.
But dithering is a bad option and the matter was never going to go away.
The specific part of the Constitution requiring all elected representatives to renounce any affiliations to other countries clearly outlines the obligations required of those standing for office.
It seems ignorance or complacency has dominated this space.
But the matter is much more than a poor reflection on the abilities and professionalism of our politicians and their political parties – it has the dangerous potential to unseat the Government.
In reality it is an overblown administrative error … but it’s the law.
There is no doubt that Barnaby Joyce – the only Lower House MP so far forced to resign – is a true-blue Aussie (as unsettling as that may be) who has been working hard in what he believes is the national interest. He is not an undercover agent for the Kiwis and none of the removed politicians had anything but the best of intentions.
At the same time the Labor Party has denied any of its MPs are in breach of the law but have steadfastly refused to prove it.
Hands up who believes them?

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