Greens senator Larissa Waters to resign

  • Australian senator Larissa Waters sensationally quit politics over dual citizenship
  • The Greens co-deputy leader made the shock announcement Tuesday afternoon
  • ‘It’s with great sadness I’ve discovered I am a dual citizen,’ she said in Brisbane 
  • It follows the resignation of fellow Greens senator Scott Ludlam last week 

Max Margan

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Stephen Johnson For Daily Mail Australia

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The Australian Greens have lost their second senator in less than a week with Larissa Waters announcing her resignation after ‘discovering’ she is a Canadian citizen. 

The party’s co-deputy leader, who is from Queensland but was born in Canada, made the shock announcement in Brisbane on Tuesday afternoon.

‘It’s with great sadness I have discovered I am a dual citizen and I will be forced to stand down,’ she said.  

Fighting back tears, she apologised to her party and vowed to ‘hold her head up high’ amid the ’embarrassing revelation’. 

The Australian Greens has lost its second senator in less than a week with Larissa Waters announcing her resignation. At times she fought back tears as she spoke to media

The Australian Greens has lost its second senator in less than a week with Larissa Waters announcing her resignation. At times she fought back tears as she spoke to media

The Australian Greens has lost its second senator in less than a week with Larissa Waters announcing her resignation. At times she fought back tears as she spoke to media

She is seen arriving with her partner Jeremy Gates and their daughter Alia Joy to make the shock announcement

She is seen arriving with her partner Jeremy Gates and their daughter Alia Joy to make the shock announcement

She is seen arriving with her partner Jeremy Gates and their daughter Alia Joy to make the shock announcement

‘I left Canada as a baby and I had no idea I was a Canadian citizen… it was an honest mistake and I am deeply apologetic,’ she said. 

She has never returned to Canada but she remains a citizen, ruling her ineligible to stand for election under section 44 of the constitution. 

Senator Waters said her parents told her she had until the age of 21 to actively seek Canadian citizenship.

‘At 21, I chose not to seek dual citizenship, and I have never even visited Canada since leaving at 11 months old,’ she said in a statement.

‘However, after Scott [Ludlam’s] shock discovery, I immediately sought legal advice, and was devastated to learn that because of 70-year-old Canadian laws I had been a dual citizen from birth, and that Canadian law changed a week after I was born and required me to have actively renounce Canadian citizenship.’

'I left Canada as a baby and I had no idea I was a Canadian citizen... it was an honest mistake and I am deeply apologetic,' she said

'I left Canada as a baby and I had no idea I was a Canadian citizen... it was an honest mistake and I am deeply apologetic,' she said

‘I left Canada as a baby and I had no idea I was a Canadian citizen… it was an honest mistake and I am deeply apologetic,’ she said

Senator Waters said her parents told her she had until the age of 21 to actively seek Canadian citizenship

Senator Waters said her parents told her she had until the age of 21 to actively seek Canadian citizenship

Senator Waters said her parents told her she had until the age of 21 to actively seek Canadian citizenship

'It's with great sadness I have discovered I am a dual citizen and I will be forced to stand down,' she said, with Greens Councillor Jonathan Sri by her side

'It's with great sadness I have discovered I am a dual citizen and I will be forced to stand down,' she said, with Greens Councillor Jonathan Sri by her side

‘It’s with great sadness I have discovered I am a dual citizen and I will be forced to stand down,’ she said, with Greens Councillor Jonathan Sri by her side

She arrives with her partner Jeremy Gates (left) and their daughter Alia Joy, flanked by Greens Brisbane City Councillor Jonathan Sri

She arrives with her partner Jeremy Gates (left) and their daughter Alia Joy, flanked by Greens Brisbane City Councillor Jonathan Sri

She arrives with her partner Jeremy Gates (left) and their daughter Alia Joy, flanked by Greens Brisbane City Councillor Jonathan Sri

Senator Waters said she had not renounced her citizenship because she was unaware she was a dual citizen.

‘Obviously, this is something that I should have sought advice on when I first nominated for the Senate in 2007, and I take full responsibility for this grave mistake and oversight,’ she said.

‘I am deeply sorry for the impact that it will have.’ 

Greens leader Richard Di Natale was ‘gutted’ by the announcement, saying parliament and the nation were worse off.

‘Larissa has unfinished business and I know she won’t back away from it, be it inside or outside the parliament,’ he tweeted.

Senator Waters said the party will now review its processes but stressed the Greens weren’t to blame.

Senator Larissa Waters' partner Jeremy Gates and their daughter Alia Joy watch her as she announces her resignation

Senator Larissa Waters' partner Jeremy Gates and their daughter Alia Joy watch her as she announces her resignation

Senator Larissa Waters’ partner Jeremy Gates and their daughter Alia Joy watch her as she announces her resignation

Senator Waters had not renounced her citizenship because she was unaware she was a dual citizen

Senator Waters had not renounced her citizenship because she was unaware she was a dual citizen

Senator Waters had not renounced her citizenship because she was unaware she was a dual citizen

Senator Waters said the party will now review its processes but stressed the Greens weren't to blame

Senator Waters said the party will now review its processes but stressed the Greens weren't to blame

Senator Waters said the party will now review its processes but stressed the Greens weren’t to blame

The matter will be referred to the High Court, sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns, which will likely order a recount of the 2016 election ballot papers.

Former senator and Democrats leader Andrew Bartlett is set to take her place in the Senate, having been second on the Greens’ ticket in last year’s double-dissolution election.

Mr Bartlett sat in parliament from 1997 to 2008.

He quit as Democrats leader in 2003 after female Liberal senator Jeannie Ferris claimed he had injured her arm during an altercation at Parliament House over an allegation he had stolen wine from a Liberal Party Christmas function. 

‘[Mr Bartlett is] a dear friend of mine, a wonderful human being and an excellent politician,’ Senator Waters said.   

The party's co-deputy leader, who is from Queensland but was born in Canada, made the shock announcement on Tuesday afternoon

The party's co-deputy leader, who is from Queensland but was born in Canada, made the shock announcement on Tuesday afternoon

The party’s co-deputy leader, who is from Queensland but was born in Canada, made the shock announcement on Tuesday afternoon

Fighting back tears, she apologised to her party and vowed to 'hold her head up high' amid the 'embarrassing revelation'. Pictured, she kisses her daughter in the Senate Chamber at Parliament House

Fighting back tears, she apologised to her party and vowed to 'hold her head up high' amid the 'embarrassing revelation'. Pictured, she kisses her daughter in the Senate Chamber at Parliament House

Fighting back tears, she apologised to her party and vowed to ‘hold her head up high’ amid the ’embarrassing revelation’. Pictured, she kisses her daughter in the Senate Chamber at Parliament House

Australian Greens senator Scott Ludlam announced his resignation over his dual citizenship with New Zealand last week

Australian Greens senator Scott Ludlam announced his resignation over his dual citizenship with New Zealand last week

Australian Greens senator Scott Ludlam announced his resignation over his dual citizenship with New Zealand last week

'I apologise unreservedly for this mistake,' Scott Ludlam (pictured) said in a statement last week.

'I apologise unreservedly for this mistake,' Scott Ludlam (pictured) said in a statement last week.

‘I apologise unreservedly for this mistake,’ Scott Ludlam (pictured) said in a statement last week.

The announcement follows the resignation of fellow Greens senator Scott Ludlam last week when it was discovered he held dual citizenship with New Zealand.

Senator Ludlam labelled it a ‘ridiculous oversight’.

‘I apologise unreservedly for this mistake,’ he said in a statement last week. 

‘This was my error, something I should have checked when I first nominated for preselection in 2006.’

Instead of going through protracted legal proceedings, he resigned as a senator for Western Australia and co-deputy leader of the Australian Greens.

Senator Ludlam was born in Palmerston North in New Zealand and left the country with his family when he was three.

He settled in Australia not long before his ninth birthday, before being naturalised when he was in his mid-teens.

‘(I) assumed that was the end of my New Zealand citizenship.’

‘It is entirely my responsibility – it wasn’t the way I was hoping to go out.’ 

Two other Greens senators, Peter Whish-Wilson and Nick McKim, were also born overseas – in Singapore and the UK, respectively. 

Senator Waters made international headlines last month after becoming the first mother to breastfeed a baby in parliament.

DISAPPEARING SENATORS OF THE 45TH PARLIAMENT 

  • Larissa Waters (Qld, Greens): Born in Canada and resigned in July 2017 after revealing she still had dual citizenship – in breach of the constitution. Elected to the Senate in 2010.
  • Scott Ludlam (WA, Greens): Born in New Zealand and resigned in July 2017 after discovering he was still a dual citizen, ruling him ineligible to stand for election. The party’s co-deputy leader was naturalised as a teenager in Australia, and had been in the Senate since 2007.
  • Rod Culleton (WA, One Nation turned independent): Booted from the Senate in January 2017 after the High Court ruled he wasn’t validly elected because he had been convicted of a larceny charge at the time of voting – even though it was later quashed. The Federal Court also declared him a bankrupt, which would also have disqualified him from sitting in parliament. Elected July 2016.
  • Bob Day (SA, Family First): Resigned in November 2016 before the High Court determined he had been improperly elected. It found the South Australian indirectly benefited from a government lease arrangement on his Adelaide electorate office, in breach of the constitution. Elected July 2014. 

 

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