Six months after telling Parliament she was unable to renounce her dual citizenship, former Labor MP Susan Lamb is now no longer a British citizen.
Ms Lamb had long maintained her renunciation could not be processed by the UK Home Office, tearfully telling Parliament her application was rejected because she was unable to obtain a copy of her parent’s marriage certificate.
She said she was estranged from her mother, and could not ask her for a copy. Her father had passed away.
But the UK Home Office formally registered her renunciation yesterday, three business days after the Labor Party asked British authorities to reconsider her circumstances without that key document.
“Susan Lamb has informed me that she is not a UK citizen and she is able to be Labor’s flag-bearer in the upcoming election in Longman, that’s good news,” Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said.
“I am pleased that on this occasion the UK was able to process her application so quickly.”
Mr Shorten again argued that Ms Lamb did all she could before the 2016 election to renounce her citizenship.
“On this occasion, the UK Home Office has been more flexible and we’re happy that she has no cloud over her eligibility to serve in the Parliament.”
The new request from the ALP came just hours after the High Court kicked former senator Katy Gallagher out of Parliament because she had still been a British citizen when nominations for the 2016 federal election closed.
That judgment led to the resignation of Ms Lamb, fellow Labor members Justine Keay and Josh Wilson, and crossbench MP Rebekha Sharkie — all of whom were in the same circumstances, after the UK Home Office took weeks and months to process their renunciations in 2016.
All four politicians pledged to contest by-elections in their seats, but last week Mr Shorten was quizzed as to how Ms Lamb could fight for her job as the Member for Longman when she had still not renounced her foreign status.
He said at the time he was confident she would be eligible to stand for re-election.
Throughout this saga, Ms Lamb had faced accusations she had not done all she could to renounce her citizenship, with allegations she could have asked the Queensland Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages for a copy of her parents’ marriage certificate, based on her unique circumstances.
The dates for the four by-elections caused by the dual citizenship fiasco, and a fifth by-election caused by the resignation of WA Labor member Tim Hammond for family reasons, are yet to be set by the Speaker Tony Smith.
Susan Lamb won the Queensland electorate of Longman in 2016 with a very slim margin over former Turnbull government assistant minister Wyatt Roy.