Health Care

Rebekha Sharkie drawn into citizenship saga

Rebekha Sharkie drawn into citizenship saga”

Federal Member in the South Australian seat of Mayo Rebekha Sharkie received confirmation that her British dual citizenship had been renounced after signing a nomination form to run in the 2016 election for the Nick Xenophon Team, it has been revealed.

In a statement on Thursday, Sharkie rejected the suggestion she was ineligible to sit in parliament, relying on the fact she had taken all steps reasonably required to renounce her British citizenship before the deadline of 9 June 2016.

It would appear as though an administrative delay in Ms Sharkie's application to renounce her British citizenship before this date is at the centre of conjecture.

Ms Sharkie, who was born in England and moved to Australia when she was two years old, has previously stated she was in the clear.

Ms Sharkie said she would fully comply with the new citizenship process being finalised by the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, but that she was confident she had fulfilled the requirements of the constitution.

Earlier today I received a phone call from the Prime Minister about the citizenship issue that has engulfed the Federal Parliament. Actually, one of my cousins in the United Kingdom went into the US Embassy to try and get US citizenship, and I think she had a bit of a tanty there and they politely asked her to leave. At that time I was open and transparent and provided copies of all relevant documentation. On June 29, 2016, the UK Home Office registered my renunciation.

She defeated Liberal Jamie Briggs, who held the seat since 2008 upon the resignation of former party leader and Howard Government Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer - who represented the electorate of Mayo since 1984.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the issue around Ms Keay is "going to involve some considerable legal debate".

Ms Sharkie said she sent a letter to the UK Home Office on April 19 but did not get the letter confirming it had been renounced until about July 4.

"I had no control as to the speed at which the UK Home Office processed my application".

"I have discussed this issue with Nick Xenophon and have sought some preliminary legal advice".

So, even though she filed the paperwork renouncing her citizenship well before the election (in April last year), the lack of clarity over the interpretation of Section 44 of the Constitution means her eligibility is uncertain. In the meantime I will continue working hard, seven days a week, to deliver for the people of Mayo.

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