Australia goes tough on dual citizenship, forces lawmakers to declare statuses

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull proposed on Monday that all lawmakers prove they are not dual citizens in a move that could threaten the stability of his own government.

Turnbull’s centre-right coalition government was thrown into chaos in October when the High Court ruled that five lawmakers, who were dual nationals, including Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, were ineligible for parliament.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said his Cabinet decided on Monday that all lawmakers should provide evidence to parliament that they’re not dual citizens. Overseas-born lawmakers would provide records of how and when their foreign citizenship was renounced.

“Members and senators have been put squarely on notice now and so they will be turning their mind to their own affairs and the issues of citizenship,” Turnbull told reporters in Canberra.

Australian-born lawmakers would have to state where and when their parents were born, details that could reveal an inherited second nationality.

“What we have seen is… a legitimate concern that there is insufficient transparency about this matter,” Turnbull told reporters.

The new laws would apply to both existing and prospective lawmakers. Current politicians will have 21 days to make the declaration, while future lawmakers will be required to make the declaration when they are elected.