The decision of the High Court to rule Katy Gallagher ineligible has led to the resignation of three MPs, as Labor feels the full brunt of the citizenship scandal.

By Joe McDonough


Posted on May 9, 2018

Labor senator Katy Gallagher has been ruled ineligible to sit in parliament by the High Court on Wednesday.

Gallagher has always maintained she took all reasonable steps to renounce her British citizenship by the nomination deadline before the 2016 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.

But the High Court has taken a strong position dismissing delays through the bureaucratic process as a defence.

The only excuse for being a dual citizenship at the time of an election is when foreign law “irremediably prevents” the Australian citizen renouncing foreign citizenship, according to the High Court’s interpretation. And that is clearly not an issue when it comes to the UK.

Labor MPs Justine Keay, Josh Wilson and Susan Lamb, and Centre Alliance’s Rebekha Sharkie, have resigned today as a result of the High Court’s judgment, with all four having relied on the same defence as Gallagher.

Gallagher accepted the verdict and said she has “more to contribute to public life”.

“To the people of the ACT, I’m very sorry that this disruption has occurred to one of your federal representatives,” the former ACT chief minister said.

“To have my place in the Senate end like this today is very deeply disappointing, but I believe that I have more to contribute to public life.

“I will take the time to talk with Labor Party members on how I can do this over the months ahead.”

Opposition leader Bill Shorten backed his colleague to bounce back.

“We are a better parliament with Katy in it and a stronger party with Katy in our caucus,” he said in a statement.

“Katy is a key part of Labor’s Senate leadership team. She is too good to lose from public life — and I know we won’t lose her.

“Katy has a lot more to contribute to Labor and to Australia.”