Australia PM Malcolm Turnbull mulls law to force lawmakers to declare citizenship

Federal MP Kevin Andrews says there is 'deep frustration' in regards to the leadership of Malcolm Turnbull

Alexander's office's claim that his father renounced is complicated by the fact that Australian citizenship only came into being as a concept in 1949 - two years before John Alexander's birth. He has been facing calls for a full audit of MPs to ensure they don't hold citizenship from any other country. Of the five disqualified, four were born in Australia, while one moved from Canada when she was a baby.

"That is not part of the Australian way", Turnbull told reporters on Monday how his proposal would put the onus on the accuser rather than the members who are accused of being dual citizens. Any change to the Australian Constitution will need to go to a referendum, with a majority of people in a majority of states required to approve any change.

The new proposal calls on lawmakers born overseas to provide records of how and when they renounced their foreign citizenship. Lawmakers will be required to produce documents to prove any second citizenship has been renounced.

Cabinet approved another layer of transparency on Monday with the forcing of members of the House and the Senate to provide a statement on personal citizenship circumstances within 21 days to the Register of Members' Interests. Prospective lawmakers will benefit the same window of time from the day they swear in. The new parliamentarians will have the same number of days to comply after their swearing in.

However, Mr Turnbull did not specify the punishment for anyone in breach, saying it would be up to the Parliament to decide the penalty for that MP or senator.


Malcolm Turnbull unveiled the new disclosure rules on Monday in a bid to clear up the uncertainty around politicians' eligibility in Canberra. That will require support from the Labor Party, which suggested a similar plan last week.

The government lost its one-seat majority when Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce was ruled ineligible in the High Court decision.

Joyce has given up his New Zealand citizenship and is expected to retain his seat in a by-election next month.

Fairfax says there is no record of Mr Alexander's father having renounced at any time after 1948 via the British National Archives online search, while under United Kingdom citizenship laws from that year, children born to British citizens are automatically given citizenship by descent.

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