Dual Citizenship access forces Liberal Party candidates to withdraw in Victoria

April 14, 2019

Liberal Party was forced to dump three of its candidates from Victoria after two days in campaign for the election. Concerns were raised over their eligibility for the Federal Election under Section 44 of the Australian Constitution.

Vaishali Ghosh, from safe Labor seat of Wills, had to withdraw due to her Indian heritage and possible access to Indian citizenship. Similarly, Kate Oski from safe Labor seat of Lalor, also had to resign as she might be eligible to claim Polish citizenship through her father.

While Helen Jackson, candidate for Cooper (formerly known as Batman), was forced to step aside as she is working in Australia Post. Her withdrawal is in the process as her position as public servant would compromise her eligibility for candidacy based on Section 44 of the Australian Constitution.

Ghosh and Oski had to withdraw their candidacy after their vetting process identified that “a possibility neither would meet strict citizenship requirements under Section 44 of the Australian Constitution in time for close of nominations”, as stated by Liberal Party spokesperson.

Section 44 of the constitution caused crisis to 45th Parliament as 17 senators and MPs had to resign over their dual citizenship status due to failed vetting, which led to the resignations from high profile politicians.

Australia is a highly multicultural country built in immigration. There has been a significant increase in the involvement of South Asian immigrant communities in Australian politics. However, citizenship access to origin country through family might make the candidates not eligible for election in Australia.