6 Nov 2017

Turnbull plan attempts to end citizenship confusion

5:53 pm on 6 November 2017

Australian MPs and senators will be forced to lodge declarations as part of a plan to overcome the country's dual citizenship row.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull after a visit to Borough Market in central London on July 10, 2017.

Malcolm Turnbull says the plan could be implemented by the end of this month Photo: AFP

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said his plan would mean if politicians had ever been citizens of another country, they would have to say where and when they renounced it.

The new system would be overseen by the parliamentary office that keeps track of politicians' financial interests.

The announcement comes days after Liberal senator Stephen Parry joined the growing ranks of federal politicians whose duand how.al citizenship has rendered them ineligible to serve the parliament, according to section 44 of the constitution.

The High Court found former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce and senators Fiona Nash, Scott Ludlam, Larissa Waters and Malcolm Roberts had all breached that section of the constitution.

The AEC is recounting the Senate tickets for the ousted senators while Mr Joyce is facing a by-election in his seat of New England.

The High Court ruling had prompted calls from the Greens for a cross-party audit, but both major parties had resisted that idea.

"This is not an audit. The obligation is on each member and each senator to make a full disclosure as I have repeatedly said in recent times," Mr Turnbull said.

Once both houses agree to the new measure, all MPs and senators will have 21 days to make declarations.

The requirements will also apply to new members sworn in.

Mr Turnbull said he wanted to speak to Labor leader Bill Shorten about the plan today.

He said he wanted it introduced quickly, saying the Senate could vote for it next week and the House of Representatives could implement it when it meets at the end of this month.

Mr Turnbull said he was optimistic that his idea would be agreed to.

Last Friday, Mr Shorten announced his own plan for sorting out the citizenship debacle that has been paralysing the Government.

The system Mr Turnbull has just announced appears similar to the scheme Mr Shorten unveiled.

Mr Turnbull said any MP found to have made a false declaration would be found in contempt of the parliament.

He said it would be up to the parliament to decide what the penalty for that should be.

Asked whether he was confident the Government would not lose any more ministers to section 44, the Prime Minister said: "The federal director has told me that all of the Liberal Party members believe that they are in compliance with the constitution."


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