Deputy Greens leader Scott Ludlam is stepping down from Federal Parliament, after admitting he has been ineligible to sit in the Senate for his whole tenure because he holds dual citizenship.
- Scott Ludlam held dual citizenship which made him ineligible to sit as a senator
- He has resigned and says he will not fight to stay on in Parliament
- Mr Ludlam takes responsibility for the “ridiculous oversight”
Mr Ludlam admitted his election was invalid because he did not renounce his New Zealand citizenship, which the WA Senator said he only discovered he had a week ago.
Section 44 of the constitution disqualifies potential candidates from election to the Parliament of Australia if they hold dual or plural citizenship.
Analysis from Insiders host Barrie Cassidy
The important thing to keep in mind is it will not change the balance of power.
If they follow normal proceedings, then the Greens senator will be replaced by another Greens senator.
They don’t lose a number but they lose a talented senator.
In recent times, we have seen from Scott Ludlam that he can be brilliant at times in committee hearings and he has a searing sense of humour as well which cuts through.
It would be open to the Greens to use [likely replacement senator Jordan Steele-John] as a seat warmer and then bring Scott Ludlam back into the Senate at another stage. I am not suggesting that might happen but it is open for them to do that.
[Senator Ludlam] is a very well-regarded senator and I think certainly Greens supporters around the country will be in quite a state about this at the moment.
Prior to his announcement, Mr Ludlam had become one of the Greens’ most prominent senators after first being elected at the 2007 federal election.
His admission about his New Zealand citizenship opened the possibility that the Commonwealth could pursue him to pay back years in salary and allowances, but Mr Ludlam said he was confident that would not eventuate.
Mr Ludlam’s Senate position is expected to be filled by a recount of ballot papers from the 2016 election.
That would likely lead to the election of 22-year-old Jordon Steele-John who was third on the Greens Senate ticket.
Mr Ludlam’s resignation comes after a period of turmoil for the Greens, in which New South Wales senator Lee Rhiannon was excluded from the partyroom over a dispute about the Government’s school funding legislation.