Greens co-deputy leader Larissa Waters has resigned from the Senate, revealing she still holds Canadian citizenship.
“It is with great shock and sadness that I have discovered that I hold dual citizenship of Australia and Canada”.
The Queensland senator, 40, was 11 months old when she left Canada with her Australian parents.
The Australian Greens have been rocked by a second resignation in less than a week after Queensland Senator Larissa Waters quit upon realising she, too, was a dual national.
Waters, the Greens’ spokesperson for Environment and biodiversity, Mining and Resources, Women, Gambling, Tourism, and Climate, was born in Winnipeg, Canada.
Senator Waters last month made history by becoming the first woman to breastfeed her child while passing a motion before the Senate.
On Tuesday, her office advised that she would make “an important announcement” at 1.30pm, using exactly the same phrasing that fellow Greens senator Scott Ludlam used ahead of his press conference last week where he announced that he was actually a dual citizen of both Australia and New Zealand, and therefore ineligible to sit in parliament.
“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”.
Waters’ resignation means the Greens are worse off – they’ll now be down two votes in the Senate while replacements for Waters and Ludlam are found, affecting the balance of power and possibly making it easier for the government to pass legislation.
Unless a person can show they have taken reasonable steps to sever foreign ties, they are not eligible to run for election.
Waters had been told by her parents she had the right to become a Canadian citizen but it would be revoked once she turned 21. “I am deeply sorry for the impact that it will have”, she said.
“I’m not to sure what the future holds for me”.
She said would continue to fight to protect the environment and fight for gender equality.
In Waters’ case, this would be Andrew Bartlett, a former senator with the Australian Democrats who left the Senate in 2008.
“The Queensland Greens have never been stronger”.