At least eight Australian lawmakers have lost their seats in parliament after discovering they have dual citizenship. In a bid to stave off a "constitutional crisis," some lawmakers have urged constitutional amendments.
Australian Senate President Stephen Parry on Wednesday said he will resign after discovering he is also a British citizen, making him the eighth lawmaker embroiled by a citizenship crisis in parliament.
Parry said he received British citizenship by way of descent through his father, who was born in the UK before moving to Australia in 1951.
"I will submit my resignation as both president of the Senate and as a senator for Tasmania to his Excellency the Governor-General tomorrow," Parry said in a statement. "I wish my successor all the best and trust that she or he will continue the reforms that I have commenced."
Last week, Australia's top court ruled that Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce was ineligible to sit in parliament for having dual citizenship, dealing a major blow to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's Liberal-National coalition
The coalition lost its one-seat majority after Joyce stepped down, forcing them to rely on independent lawmakers for their political survival.
Joyce has vowed to re-contest his seat at a by-election slated for December 2 after relinquishing his New Zealand citizenship.
The former deputy premier joked about his prospect in the December by-election by posting a video of him attempting to shear a sheep on Twitter. "Practicing in the shearing shed, just in case the by-election doesn't go my way," he wrote.
Meanwhile, Liberal lawmaker Craig Kelly said election authorities should conduct an audit of all parliamentarians to determine whether anyone else has dual citizenship. Greens lawmaker Richard Di Natale backed the move, saying: "We're entering constitutional crisis territory here."
Roughly 49 percent of Australians are either born abroad or have one or more parents born abroad, according to the country's 2016 census.
ls/rt (Reuters, dpa)