Australian Labour Senator Katy Gallagher lost her seat in parliament after the High Court found on Wednesday that she did not do enough to renounce her dual citizenship before she was elected.
Gallagher was aware of her British passport as her father was born in England, so the High Court ruled that she had not taken “all reasonable steps” to relinquish her British links.
Under Section 44 of the Australian Constitution, members of parliament are unable to have citizenship in another country, and must prove that they took “all reasonable steps” to renounce their citizenship before being elected.
The decision could have serious ramifications on another four dual-citizen MPs who were relying on the same defence as Gallagher.
“To have my place in the Senate end like this today is very deeply disappointing, but I believe that I have more to contribute to public life and I will take the time to talk with Labour Party members on how I can do this over the months ahead,” Gallagher said in a statement on Wednesday.
“I have always acted on the best available legal advice, which at all times, indicated that I satisfied the eligibility requirements under the Constitution.
“However, today the High Court has made its decision, and I respect the outcome.”
The High Court’s precedent could also prompt the resignation of four other parliamentary members, Susan Lamb, Justine Keay, Josh Wilson and Rebekha Sharkie, who were dual citizens when they were elected in 2016, and must prove they took adequate steps to renounce their status.