ACT Senator and Federal Labor frontbencher Katy Gallagher has denied being an Ecuadorian citizen following media claims that she may have dual citizenship of that nation by descent because her mother was born there.
Ms Gallagher is the first ACT political representative to be embroiled in the dual citizenship saga which has been rocking federal politics.
The issue has hit the spotlight because The Daily Telegraph has obtained Ms Gallagher’s mother’s arrival card to Australia, which shows she was born in Ecuador.
The newspaper claims that under article seven of Ecuador’s constitution (updated in 2008) this may mean Ms Gallagher is a citizen as this article states that people classified as Ecuadorean by birth include “persons born abroad of a mother or father born in Ecuador and their descendants up to the third degree of consanguinity”.
However, Ms Gallagher has strongly rejected claims she has dual citizenship.
“I am not and have never been an Ecuadorian citizen,” said Ms Gallagher, who is the Federal Opposition’s spokeswoman on small business and financial services.
“The 2008 Constitution was not in effect when my mother was born in 1943.
“As part of the ALP vetting process, I disclosed that my mother was a British citizen, born in Ecuador to British parents, who were temporarily working in Ecuador,” she said.
“The circumstances of my mother’s birth and citizenship were investigated.
“As a result of these investigations it was determined that I had not obtained Ecuadorian citizenship by descent from my mother.”
In early October seven federal parliamentarians are set to face the High Court to see if they are eligible to remain in parliament due to foreign citizenship concerns.
As yet, no Labor politicians have either been referred or referred themselves to the High Court in connection with this issue.