Pacific News Minute: Two Australian Greens Senators Resign Over Citizenship

Jul 19, 2017

Larissa Waters (left) with some Knitting Nanas.
Credit Kate Ausburn / Flickr

Larissa Waters, deputy leader of the Australian Greens Party resigned her senate seat this week, after she learned that she holds dual citizenship with Canada. She checked, after another Greens senator resigned a few days ago over the same issue. Australia’s constitution bars federal candidates with dual citizenship. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

The loss of Scott Ludlum and Larissa Waters represents a major blow to the Greens. They were co-deputy leaders, and Waters in particular was regarded as an up and comer who gained national recognition as an opponent of the huge Adani mine in Queensland and as the first woman to breast feed in parliament.

In a tearful statement to her constituents, Waters apologized and took full responsibility. She said she left Canada as a baby and did not realize she had to renounce her Canadian citizenship.

Ludlum’s story is similar, he left New Zealand with his parents at the age of three.

Greens Leader, Senator Richard DiNatale, said he was gutted when he heard the news of what he called an innocent mistake.

After a complicated recount process, Ludlum and Waters will likely be replaced by similar candidates. In the meantime, there will be just seven Greens in the Senate. The ruling Liberal National Coalition does not have a majority in the Upper House, which can give the Greens influence beyond their numbers.

In national elections, the Australian Greens get about ten percent of the vote. The Party was created in 1992 dedicated to environmentalism, social justice, peace and non-violence; a far-left faction calls for an end to capitalism and global imperialism. The party achieved its best results in 2010 and its performance in last year’s election was seen as a disappointment.