Departing Labor MPs victims of stricter High Court interpretation: Plibersek

Departing Labor MPs victims of stricter High Court interpretation: Plibersek

Departing Labor MPs victims of stricter High Court interpretation: Plibersek

Several Australian lawmakers have been forced from office since the High Court upheld the constitutional ban on dual nationals sitting in Parliament in a ruling last October.

Mr Porter said the decision meant four other MPs, including SA's Rebekha Sharkie (Centre Alliance) must immediately stand down.

But a firmer grip on power could be short-lived, with Australia facing a general election within a year and potentially as early as August.

The fate of the Labor MPs' coupled with the resignation of Perth's Labor MP Tim Hammond will see five by-elections take place, a very costly exercise.

However, the High Court's decision puts a cloud over a number of other MPs in the lower house, including first-term Labor members Susan Lamb and Justine Keay, who both hold marginal seats in outer Brisbane and western Tasmania and are possible dual British citizens.

The High Court of Australia ruled that Gallagher's seat would be filled by counting back votes from the 2016 federal election.

Since July a year ago, section 44 of the constitution, which bans dual citizens from being federal members of parliament, has ended the political careers of former Greens senators Larissa Waters and Scott Ludlam.

"If Labor was to lose that, it'd be a huge fillip for Turnbull", Dr Economou said.

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Senator Gallagher argued she took "reasonable steps" to renounce her British citizenship prior to the last election, but due to administrative complications, it had not been processed before nominations closed.

Gallagher, being a dual British citizen, did not have the same irremediable impediment.

Porter said for Shorten to claim it was a reinterpretation was "talking absolute rubbish".

"It is a crystal clear clarification of the law as it was stated in the [Matt] Canavan decision previous year, and anyone, Bill Shorten or anyone else, who says this is a reinterpretation or a change, is talking absolute rubbish", he said.

Like Ms Gallagher, who was born in Ecuador to British parents, the four had begun applying to British authorities to renounce their citizenship but the process was not completed before the election.

As a senator, Gallagher's disqualification does not trigger a byelection - she is set to be replaced on a recount by the next person on the ALP ticket, David Smith.

"The High Court has adopted the strictest possible reading", George Williams, professor and Dean of Law at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, said.

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