At 36 and as a member of parliament — and with five kids of your own — it’s probably time to take some personal responsibility for things that happen to you.
Like becoming the citizen of another country, for example. Even if your mother apparently, somehow, made it happen
While the dual citizenship issue claiming a number of parliamentary scalps is starting to seem a little unfair, the rules are the rules — especially when it comes to elected officials.
Former Greens Senator Larissa Waters appeared to appreciate that, when she stepped down from Parliament last week after discovering she held dual Canadian citizenship. Despite leaving Canada at 11 months and never returning, she acknowledged the issue was her mistake in a resignation statement: “I take full responsibility for this grave mistake and oversight. I am deeply sorry for the impact that it will have.”
Yesterday, news broke that Nationals Senator and now former Turnbull Cabinet member, Matt Canavan may be the third victim in the dual citizenship debacle. He announced that he could, potentially hold Italian citizenship — making him ineligible to hold a seat in parliament as well.
Canavan has resigned as Minister for Resources and Northern Australia. But he has not resigned from the Senate. He’s announced his intention to take the matter to the High Court.
And rather than apply some responsibility for the stuff-up — or at least concede it was an oversight — he’s instead pointed the finger at his mother.
Posting on his Facebook page Canavan said that his mother had lodged documents with the Italian consulate in 2006 to become an Italian citizen, and happened to lodge an application for him as well. He was 25 at the time.
“While I knew that my mother had become an Italian citizen I had no knowledge that I myself had become an Italian citizen,” he said. His mother raised the possibility that he could be an Italian citizen with him last week. Canavan claims he’s had no correspondence with Italian authorities over the application.
Many are questioning the likelihood of this series of events, arguing that to become a citizen of a country as an adult requires lengthy application and identification processes. Could Canavan really have been oblivious to the outcome?
Speaking on ABC Radio this morning, Greens Leader Richard Di Natale (who has renounced his own Italian citizenship) said that Canavan’s best defense might just be that no true Italian would ever blame their mother.