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Queensland Senator Matt Canavan quits Cabinet over citizenship doubts

Queensland Senator Matt Canavan quits Cabinet over citizenship doubts

Canavan's Australian-born mother has Italian heritage, and when she took Italian citizenship in 2006, she also registered other members of her family, including her son, who was 25 at the time, was registered as an Italian resident overseas in 2007.

"According to the Italian Government, I am a citizen of Italy", Senator Canavan said.

Greens co-deputies Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters were forced to resign over the past fortnight after discovering they were dual citizens.

Queensland LNP senator Matt Canavan has resigned as the minister for resources and northern Australia after being told by the Italian embassy that he is an Italian citizen.

"In 2006 my mother lodged documents with the Italian consulate in Brisbane to become an Italian citizen".

'Until last week I had no suspicions I could possibly be an Italian citizen.

Canavan said he was 25 years old at the time.

The attorney-general said that senator Canavan's registration as an Italian citizen "was obtained without Canavan's knowledge or consent".

Video
       'It was my fault': Australian senator's teary resignation
Video 'It was my fault': Australian senator's teary resignation

Neither Ludlam nor Waters were aware of their dual citizenship, with Waters having acquired hers courtesy of her Australian parents' brief stay in Canada, where she was born.

"While I knew my mother had become an Italian citizen, I had no knowledge that I had become an Italian citizen nor had I requested that I become an Italian citizen". I have never been to Italy. "I am seeking to obtain that advice at present".

It comes after two Greens senators resigned from parliament over citizenship issues.

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull said Nationals leader and deputy PM Barnaby Joyce will take on Canavan's ministerial roles until his status is resolved.

Brandis, appearing with Canavan at a joint news conference at which they did not take questions, said the government had taken advice from the solicitor-general and was in the process of taking advice from experts in Italian citizenship law.

Since the last election, a senator has quit because his indirect ownership of a building in which the government leased his office breached the section because he was deemed to have had a pecuniary interest in the government contract.

A government lawmaker in the House of Representatives faces disqualification by the High Court because a shop in a retail mall he owns has a postal service contract which the opposition argues amounts to a pecuniary interest in a government contract.

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