SOUTH COAST Greens stalwart Giz Watson has critiqued the law that recently saw her relinquish her British citizenship to run for the Senate.
On March 1 last year, Ms Watson renounced her UK citizenship so she could legally run for Federal Parliament.
“You write to say you want to renounce your citizenship, and then they charge you something like three grand for the pleasure,” she said.
The need for a dual national to renounce their foreign citizenship emerged during the affair that from 2017 saw many MPs forced to resign after it became widely known that Section 44 of the Constitution barred dual nationals from holding Federal office.
“It’s an absolute nonsense,” Ms Watson said of the citizenship imbroglio.
“The Greens have been trying to have that part of the Constitution amended since Bob Brown was in Parliament.”
She recalled how she received the first phone call advising The Greens WA that the dual Australian/New Zealand citizenship of the party’s senator, Scott Ludlam, could be problematic.
“I actually think after the whole fiasco, of which Scott was the first victim, just on democratic principles, if people are Australian citizens they should not be forced to relinquish other citizenships,” she said.
Ms Watson is Acting National Manager for The Greens, and in 2016 ran for the Division of O’Connor.
In the 1980s, she became the first Western Australian woman to qualify as a builder through the trade, and erected a house for her parents at Torbay.
“I’m on the south coast between a third and half the time, now,” Perth-based Ms Watson said.
“With my folks getting on a bit, I’ll probably be down here more.”
She said there were significant issues for the Great Southern with “the rural poor getting left behind”, and cited Denmark’s homelessness problem as a disturbing example.