The dual citizenship saga continues, with Xenophon MP Rebekha Sharkie's eligibility now called into question.
There are concerns that Ms Sharkie was a dual citizen at the time of her nomination.
She is the member for Mayo in South Australia, and reportedly held British citizenship at the time she was nominated for the 2016 federal election.
While it is understood that Ms Sharkie took steps to renounce her British citizenship in April last year, this did not come into effect until July 11, 2016.
The polls took place a week earlier on July 2, 2016.
It would appear as though an administrative delay in Ms Sharkie's application to renounce her British citizenship before this date is at the centre of conjecture.
In a statement, Ms Sharkie advises that she will seek legal advice.
Earlier today I received a phone call from the Prime Minister about the citizenship issue that has engulfed the Federal Parliament. During that conversation the Prime Minster asked me about the dates I sought to renounce my UK citizenship (I was born in the UK and migrated to Australia as a one-year-old with my parents). This question has been asked of me before, several months ago, by the media. At that time I was open and transparent and provided copies of all relevant documentation. I repeated this information to the Prime Minister. The relevant dates are that on the 19th April 2016 - well before the election was called - I completed the relevant forms to renounce my entitlement to be UK citizen as well as providing my credit card details to pay for that. These documents were sent by express international post to the UK as the information I was provided online suggested this was the appropriate course to take. On the June 2, 2016 I received acknowledgment from the UK Home Office that my application had been received. I nominated for the seat of Mayo, on or about June 7, 2016. On June 29, 2016, the UK Home Office registered my renunciation. The Prime Minister in our conversation suggested I may have to refer myself to the High Court. I have been open throughout about my citizenship status and have supported a full audit of all members of parliament on this issue. I have discussed this issue with Nick Xenophon and have sought some preliminary legal advice. I believe that I took all steps that were required by the UK to renounce any entitlement to UK citizenship, that were within my power to do so. I had no control as to the speed at which the UK Home Office processed my application, but I note that well over a month would have passed before I actually nominated for the seat of Mayo. I will, of course, fully and willingly comply with the declaration of citizenship process that will soon be implemented, and if that process determines my case should be referred to the High Court, I will of course respect that. However, I am confident that I have complied with s 44(1) of the Constitution. In the meantime I will continue working hard, seven days a week, to deliver for the people of Mayo.
- Rebekha Sharkie