Published: Sat, July 15, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Scott Ludlam Resigns From Parliament After Discovering He Is A Dual Citizen

Scott Ludlam Resigns From Parliament After Discovering He Is A Dual Citizen

The barrister at Francis Burt Chambers contacted Senator Ludlam's office last week "as a courtesy" to let them know he was sending proof of the Greens politician's New Zealand citizenship to the Clerk of the Senate.

Under section 44 of the constitution, that makes him ineligible to hold office.

"I apologise unreservedly for this mistake", he said in a statement Friday.

"I am personally devastated to learn that an avoidable oversight a decade ago compels me to leave my colleagues, supporters and my wonderful team", he said.

Senator Ludlam was born in Palmerston North in New Zealand and left the country with his family when he was three.

The former Greens deputy was known for questioning his peers from other parties, most notably regarding Australia's impending data breach notification laws, which were passed at the third attempt in February.

Ludlam was unsuccessful in moving a motion to have the notification requirements apply to political parties and businesses with turnover of less than AU$3 million. He said he believed he automatically lost his NZ citizenship when he became an Australian in his teens.

Ludlam took a leave of absence to treat his depression and anxiety between November 2016 and January 2017.

On Friday, Greens senator Scott Ludlam announced his immediate resignation, after it emerged that he has been a secret New Zealander this entire time.

Ludlam said he hoped he would be given the same dispensation.

"Scott has been an outstanding member of the parliament and of the Greens", he said in a statement.

'He will continue to be a champion of the Greens movement and a dear friend'.

"Obviously Senator Ludlam's oversight is a pretty remarkable one when you think about it - he's been in the Senate for so long", Mr Turnbull said.

Ludlam was first elected to parliament in 2006, and has since been re-elected twice, meaning there were three elections in which he was ineligible to stand.

University student Jordon Steele-John, who has cerebral palsy, has been touted as the frontrunner to take the vacant seat.

Speaking to The Weekend Australian, Cameron insisted that he was not politically motivated, and that he merely acted as "a citizen" with a "keen interest" in the workings of the Australian Constitution. "We will petition them, if they come after us, for the kind of relief that was offered to senators Day and Culleton".

Fellow Western Australian and former One Nation senator Rod Culleton was booted from the Senate earlier this year after a Federal Court ruled his business has gone bankrupt.

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