A Federal Minister Just Resigned Because He Might Be An Italian Citizen


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It. Keeps. Happening.

The minister for resources and Northern Australian, Matt Canavan, has today announced he is resigning from the Cabinet in order to “clarify” his citizenship status after discovering he might be a dual Italian-Australian citizen, and therefore ineligible to serve in federal parliament.

Canavan, a Coalition senator from Queensland, said he had “no idea” he could be an Italian citizen until he checked last week, following the shock resignations of Greens senators Larissa Waters and Scott Ludlam. Under Section 44 of the Australian constitution dual citizens are ineligible to serve in federal parliament.

At a press conference on Tuesday afternoon Canavan said that he would be standing aside as a minister, but would not be resigning from parliament, until questions about his citizenship are resolved. Canavan’s concerns stem from the fact that his mother has Italian ancestry and he could have been automatically given Italian citizenship at birth.

If Canavan turned out to be a dual citizen it would be an embarrassing blow for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull who last week said resignations of Waters and Ludlam showed “incredible sloppiness”.

Ludlam himself appeared to be enjoying the moment:

As minister for resources Canavan has the unofficial job title of ‘minister in charge of building the Adani coal mine’. Earlier this month he was heavily criticised after tweeting that the QLD government should stop “trying to save the planet in 2050” and “concentrate on saving jobs today”.