Labor is under fire with senator Katy Gallagher and four lower house MPs now caught up in the citizenship saga.

By Joe McDonough

Posted on December 6, 2017

Labor senator Katy Gallagher has asked to be referred to the High Court despite maintaining she has taken all reasonable steps to renounce her British citizenship.

While documents show she was still a dual citizen at the time of last year’s election, it is understood she applied for renunciation months before voters went to the polls and it took the British Home Office 118 days to complete the process.

She has received legal counsel from an expert in British nationality law, Adrian Berry, who advised her she would not be ruled ineligible to sit in parliament.

The ACT senator and former Minister for Health, previously leaned against taking her case to the High Court but said the attempted attacks on her eligibility and reputation from the Coalition prompted her to do so.

Since Ms Gallagher’s dual citizenship was exposed, the eligibility of four more Labor MPs and a cross-bencher has come into question.

With the citizenship disclosure registry brought into effect on Tuesday evening, the ALP’s Josh Wilson, Justine Keay, David Feeney and Susan Lamb have been caught in the crosshairs, as has Nick Xenophon Team’s Rebekha Sharkie.

Of those, Mr Feeney looks certain to front the High Court as he has been unable to locate renunciation documents he says he lodged with the British Home Office in October 2007.

In defence of Ms Lamb, Ms Keay and Mr Wilson, Labor’s Tony Burke said MPs should not be ruled ineligible based on the efficiency of the British Home Office or driven “by a junior public servant in Britain”.

While the Coalition has accused Labor of hypocrisy over its treatment of the ‘Citizenship Seven’ and its proclamation that its vetting process is “rigorous”, Bill Shorten and co have hit back saying no less than eight Liberal MPs still had questions to answer.

Included in that list is Josh Frydenberg. The Minister for the Environment and Energy was forced last month to prove he wasn’t a Hungarian citizen by descent and produced documentation showing his mother was in fact “stateless”.

However, he has also declared he obtained legal advice that guaranteed his eligibility, and that has reportedly not been tabled.

His good friend from the other side of the chamber, Ed Husic, warned against pursuing those with families displaced in World War Two.

“If we get to the point where we’re pursuing people who were stateless and escaping one of the most horrific episodes in modern history, well I’d be interested to see how far we do pursue this,” the Labor MP said.

“There’s always an opportunity for us to pause for thought.”