Politics

One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts Is Hugely Confused About Whether He’s A British Citizen

Malcolm Roberts could be replaced by... Pauline Hanson's sister.

The total and utter implosion of Australian politics is accelerating with yet another senator caught up in the dual citizenship nightmare that has so far engulfed the Greens’ Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters, a well as Coalition minister Matt Canavan.

The latest politician accused of being ineligible to serve in parliament is One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts — everyone’s favourite climate change denying “village idiot”.

We’ll give you a minute to shed your tears. Ok, back to the news.

Roberts was born in India to a Welsh father and an Australian mother. Last week he denied ever being an Indian citizen, and managed to throw in a few extremely racist jokes along the way.

However documents unearthed by BuzzFeed Australia show that Roberts was listed as a British national according to the UK High Commission and travelled on a British passport, strongly suggesting he was a British citizen.

Section 44 of the Constitution prohibits dual citizens from being elected to federal parliament, so the question is: did Roberts renounce his citizenship before the election, or is he ineligible?

The Mysterious Case Of Malcolm Roberts’ Citizenship

This is where things start to get very weird and confusing. Last year Roberts’ office told The Guardian that he had never been a citizen of any country other than Australia.

That seems to clash with the records showing Roberts had a British passport. But, in a further twist, Roberts has more recently stated that prior to the election he did try and renounce his British citizenship… that he formerly argued he never had.

He’s now refused to provide any documents proving it. Last night he went on Sky News to provide a more comprehensive timeline of the citizenship saga.

He said that he emailed British officials in May last year, two months before the election, to ask whether he was a UK citizen. He never received a reply so he contacted them a few more times.

It was only in December last year, five months after the election, that he received confirmation that his citizenship had been renounced. According to his spokesperson, “He is choosing to believe that he was never British. He is preferring to believe that he was never British because he has no allegiance or exercised any citizenship arrangement”.

Which is absolutely not how it works. The issue isn’t whether Roberts “believes” he was a British citizen, and thus ineligible, or not. It’s whether he actually was.

What Happens Next?

Since Roberts is currently a sitting senator there would need to be a High Court challenge to his election to find out once and for all whether he was technically eligible to run in the first place.

If that happens and he’s booted out of parliament, a recount would end up electing the third candidate on One Nation’s Queensland senate ticket: Fraser Anning.

But according to Fairfax, Anning is facing bankruptcy proceedings in the Federal Court. Section 44 also prohibits people found to be bankrupt from serving in parliament. The court case is yet to be resolved and Junkee is not alleging any wrongdoing by Anning, but if the bankruptcy application was successful the seat would then be won by the fourth person on the One Nation ticket.

Who is none other than Judy Smith… Pauline Hanson’s sister.