Popular Greens senator Larissa Waters — who made headlines around the world for breastfeeding in federal parliament — has resigned from her position after discovering she too holds dual citizenship. The news comes just five days after Scott Ludlam, deputy leader of the Greens, announced his resignation for the same reason.
Larissa broke the news on Twitter writing that she was resigning with "a heavy heart."
"It is with great shock and sadness that I have discovered that I hold dual citizenship of Australia and Canada. As people would know after the recent departure of my dear friend and former colleague Scott Ludlam, section 44 of the Australian constitution means I cannot hold office in the federal Parliament.
I left Canada as a baby, born to Australian parents studying and working briefly in Canada before they returned home. I have lived my life thinking that as a baby I was naturalised to be Australian and only Australian, and my parents told me that I had until age 21 to actively seek Canadian citizenship. At 21, I chose not to seek dual citizenship, and I have never even visited Canada since leaving at 11 months old.
However after Scott's shock discovery, I immediately sought legal advice, and was devastated to learn that because of 70 year old Canadian laws I had been a dual citizen from birth, and that Canadian law changed a week after I was born and required me to have actively renounced Canadian citizenship.
I had not renounced since I was unaware that I was a dual citizen. Obviously this is something that I should have sought advice on when I first nominated for the Senate in 2007, and I take full responsibility for this grave mistake and oversight. I am deeply sorry for the impact that it will have."
You can read the rest of Larissa's statement here. At the very least, she's left behind a legacy that will help to diminish the stigma that surrounds breastfeeding — so Larissa, we salute you.