News National Labor keeps citizenship documents locked up

Labor keeps citizenship documents locked up

bill shorten
Bill Shorten argued Australia's wage growth levels are not good enough. Photo: AAP
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The Federal Opposition is continuing to refuse to release documents showing when some of their parliamentarians met citizenship requirements, despite the party’s leader tabling his in Parliament.

Bill Shorten released documents yesterday showing he renounced his British citizenship in 2006.

Following that, the ABC requested similar documentation for 11 Labor MPs who have had questions raised about their citizenship.

The request related to Opposition parliamentarians Susan Lamb, Tony Zappia, Justine Keay, Maria Vamvakinou, Katy Gallagher, David Feeney, Brendan O’Connor, Penny Wong, Doug Cameron, Brian Mitchell and Josh Wilson.

But Labor has refused to release the documents, pointing to Mr Shorten’s statement yesterday.

“MPs and senators should not be forced to produce evidence to counter claims that are made completely without evidence,” the Opposition Leader said.

It has left crossbench senator Cory Bernardi furious.

“Labor have this great tradition of ‘just accept what I say’ irrespective of the evidence against them,” he said.

“Bill Shorten has done what he’s required to do I think, and it’s time for the others to follow the leader.”

“There’s another 11 people under a cloud in the Labor Party, some of whom I didn’t even know were members of Parliament.”

Labor senator Murray Watt told AM there was no evidence against any Labor member.

“What is different about each of the cases that are now going to the High Court is that people were able to come forward with some evidence that called into question someone’s eligibility or citizenship,” he said.

“That is not the case about any of the other Labor MPs who mud has been thrown about.

“If you’ve got some evidence that any of these people are dual citizens bring it forward and then we would probably have to think about referring them off but at the moment there’s no evidence.”

Labor has consistently argued it has a strict process for ensuring candidates have renounced their dual citizenships correctly.

The constitution prevents anyone with dual citizenship from holding office, and there are now seven politicians, including the Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce, who will ask the High Court to decide whether they were validly elected to Parliament at last July’s poll.

The Coalition has chalked up the decision by Mr Shorten to table his citizenship documents as a tactical win, but Labor believed it was evidence it had successfully distracted Malcolm Turnbull by dragging him into a three-week-long fruitless campaign.