Citizen Payne

A SECOND south coast candidate in Saturday’s Federal election has had to renounce her foreign citizenship to be allowed to run for national office.

On May 16 and August 31 last year, Labor candidate for O’Connor Shelley Payne renounced her citizenship respectively of both the UK and Canada.

Australian Shelley Payne and Salty (10, who staunchly retains her Maltese/Chihuahua citizenship) brave a blustery Denmark doctor. Photo: Chris Thomson

Ms Payne, an Australian citizen who lives in Esperance, said she renounced her foreign citizenship in order to run for O’Connor.

“I guess the issue is that 25 per cent of Australians are born overseas and nearly half have at least one parent who was born overseas, so if you want to have a representative democracy then you have half the people who are Australian citizens that can’t run for Parliament,” she said.

“One has to question whether the rules need to change.” 

The need for people with multiple nationalities to renounce their non-Australian ones 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 them from holding Federal office.

Last edition, it was revealed that south coast Greens stalwart Giz Watson had renounced her UK citizenship to be permitted to run for the Senate.

Ms Watson said the requirement was “an absolute nonsense”.

“The Greens have been trying to have that part of the Constitution amended since Bob Brown was in Parliament,” she told The Voice of the South for last edition.

Ms Payne is the only woman on the ballot paper for the O’Connor electorate.

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