Politician citizenship rules not the problem, Bendigo MP Lisa Chesters believes

MEMBER for Bendigo Lisa Chesters says if it’s good enough for every day Australians to face close scrutiny when they fill out official forms, why shouldn’t the same apply to politicians?

Ms Chesters believes the citizenship rules for MPs and senators do not need to change – rather, politicians should show better attention to detail just like all Australians.

Both of Ms Chesters’ parents were born in England, and she once used a British passport for travel, but she said she expressly handed it back to British authorities and renounced any British ties before seeking pre-selection.

So far, no Labor or Liberal MPs or senators have been caught up in the citizenship scandal.

Ms Chesters said it all came down to due diligence.

“There’s a five-page document that we all have to fill in, listing our parents and grandparents,” she said.

“At the end, lawyers go over it to vet the nomination forms.

“We go through heavy due diligence.”

South Australian senator Nick Xenophon became the seventh federal politician to be embroiled in the scandal, referring himself to the High Court.

He joined Greens MPs Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters, One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts, and Nationals MPs Barnaby Joyce, Fiona Nash and Matt Canavan in facing disqualification from the parliament over dual-citizenship concerns.

Ms Chesters said it was unfair for politicians to plead ignorance, while at the same time punishing some Australians over minor discrepancies.

“For a government that likes to go after people for breaking the rules, it’s a bit disingenuous to expect different standards for themselves,” she said.

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