A bizarre week in politics has just gotten a whole lot more so, with the shock resignation of Greens Senator and Co-Deputy leader, Larissa Waters this afternoon.
It emerged, that Canadian-born Waters did not renounce her dual citizenship when running for Australian office, rendering her ineligible to serve.
She was born to Australian parents, left Canada when she was 11 months old, and has never returned.
Astonishingly, this follows on from Senator Scott Ludlam’s shock departure from Parliament last week after it was revealed that he also retained citizenship to his birth country, New Zealand.
The sad news will see the Greens scrambling, losing two key performers in less than a week. For the time being at least, The Greens will be down two votes in the Senate, potentially making it easier for Malcolm Turnbull to pass his newly announced counter-terrorism legislation.
Waters responded to the news a short while ago.
“I was devastated to learn that because of 70-year-old Canadian laws I had been a dual citizen from birth, and that Canadian law changed a week after I was born and required me to have actively renounced Canadian citizenship,” she said.
“It is with a heavy heart that I am forced to resign as Senator for Queensland and co-deputy leader of the Australian Greens, effective today.”
It is with a heavy heart that I am resigning as Senator for Qld and Co-Deputy Leader of the Australian Greens. https://t.co/DuplaZPi2h
— Larissa Waters (@larissawaters) July 18, 2017
Larissa has unfinished business and I know she won’t back away from it, be it inside or outside the Parliament.
— Richard Di Natale (@RichardDiNatale) July 18, 2017
Waters thanked her party and acknowledged her time serving the people of Queensland.
“It has been an honour to work with my Greens colleagues in the Parliament and in the Queensland party,” she said.
“They are the best of people and I am devastated to leave them. My focus now is on working with the party to ensure Queenslanders still have a strong Green voice in the Senate, and working with our state candidates, members and supporters to elect Greens into the Queensland State Parliament.
“Despite my personal circumstances, I still have unshakeable hope for our common future on this planet.
“Our movement is so much bigger than any one person, and we will win in the end. Farewell dear friends.”
A vocal advocate for gender equality in politics, as well for the environment, women’s rights and for more funding for domestic violence services, Larissa will be sorely missed. She leaves a resounding legacy as a vocal and passionate politician as well as being the first woman ever to breastfeed in Australian Federal Parliament.
We’re sorry to see her go.