Nick Xenophon confirmed as a dual citizen of the UK
SOUTH Australian political heavyweight Nick Xenophon's parliamentary future is in doubt after he discovered overnight he is a British Overseas Citizen.
The South Australian senator told the Sunday Mail this morning that the British Home Office had confirmed his citizenship overnight, adding that he was told his case was "a rare peculiarity".
Senator Xenophon now joins growing list of Australian politicians caught up in the citizenship debacle, which means he may not be eligible to be a member of Federal Parliament.
He described his citizenship category as a "colonial relic" that needed to be addressed by the Australian Parliament.
Senator Xenophon will not resign from parliament but has instead sought advice from a constitutional lawyer.
"When the parliament resumes in a little over a fortnight I will seek the support of the Senate to refer myself to the High Court sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns," he said.
"Overnight and this morning I have sought legal advice from an authoritative constitutional law barrister, and it is appropriate that I keep working hard for South Australians in the Senate until the case is determined later this year."
Senator Xenophon's citizenship category is a historical category of citizenship formerly known as a Citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies.
"The literature on this and oral advice from the UK Home Office is that this form of citizenship is quote "useless", and indeed in many cases it confers fewer rights than an Australian Citizen traveling on an Australian passport to the United Kingdom would have.
"The great irony here is that my father left Cyprus in order to escape British Colonial rule.
"At that time he appears to have travelled to Australia on British Colonial travel documents."
"Cyprus became independent of its colonial power on 16 August 1960.
"At the moment of independence every Cypriot lost their colonial UK citizenship status.
"I would have lost that colonial status as well if my father was living in Cyprus at the time or in any other country in the world except, according to the then British Nationality Act, these nine countries: Canada, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), India, New Zealand, Pakistan, Union of South Africa, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Newfoundland (then a separate dominion, now part of Canada) and Australia.
"It seems that being born in Australia, according to 1948 UK legislation, makes me a colonial Pom (something that has stunned me and my 86 year old father)."
"The oral advice from the UK Home Office last night is that this whole scenario is a quote "rare peculiarity".
The revelation caps off a tough week for the senator whose SA Best Party is set to play a major role in the upcoming State Election.
On Thursday, his fledgling SA Best party was rocked by the snap resignation of its only sitting member of Parliament, just seven months from the state election.
On Friday, Senator Xenophon told reporters he had sought advice from the British Home Office and UK high commission whether he had any UK ties.
The Advertiser last week raised questions about a possible issue with Senator Xenophon's citizenship status.
Senator Xenophon was born in Adelaide but his father Theo Xenophou was born in Cyprus, which was a British territory until 1960, and came to Australia in 1951 as a British citizen.
His mother was born in Greece.
Before he was first elected in 2007, he wrote to the Greek embassy and Cypriot high commission to renounce any possible citizenship.
Upper House MP John Darley declared late Thursday he had quit the SA Best and Nick Xenophon Team parties.
He said he would remain in Parliament as an independent until his term finishes in 2022, prompting Senator Xenophon to demand that he quit parliament.
Mr Darley said he had argued with Senator Xenophon over the name of the new state-based SA Best party and policies on the proposed bank tax and electoral reform.
He said a key problem was that Senator Xenophon "just wants everything his own way".