Recently it was brought to my attention that I hold dual citizenship of Australia and New Zealand. Under Section 44 of the Australian Constitution, I am therefore ineligible to hold elected office in the Federal Parliament.
I apologise unreservedly for this mistake. This was my error, something I should have checked when I first nominated for preselection in 2006. I have no wish to draw out the uncertainty or create a lengthy legal dispute, particularly when the Constitution is so clear. I am resigning as Senator for Western Australia and Co-Deputy Leader of the Australian Greens, effective today.
I am personally devastated to learn that an avoidable oversight a decade ago compels me to leave my colleagues, supporters and my wonderful team. You are the people who entrusted me as your candidate and sent me to Parliament, and you are the people who turned out in force as we fought an unprecedented by-election in 2014. You supported me through the challenges of the past year and gave me the strength to return to the political arena. You know who you are, and I’ll never forget your support.
I was born in Palmerston North New Zealand, left the country with my family when I was three years old, and settled in Australia not long before my ninth birthday. I was naturalised when I was in my mid-teens and assumed that was the end of my New Zealand citizenship.
I’ve been incredibly fortunate to serve these past nine years in the Australian Senate. The scruffy kid who cut his teeth at the Jabiluka uranium blockade was honoured last week to speak in the United Nations plenary on the historic nuclear weapons ban. It’s not a bad way to go out.
The Australian Greens will continue to be strong advocates for a cleaner, greener and fairer Australia. I’ll find a way to continue making a contribution in some different capacity, but thank you all for sharing this remarkable ride with me.
- Parliamentary service
- Elected to the Senate for Western Australia 2007 (term began 1.7.2008), 2014 and 2016.
- Parliamentary party positions
- Co-Deputy Leader of the Australian Greens from 6.5.15.
- Australian Greens portfolios: Broadband, Communications and Digital Economy; Housing; Nuclear; Mining (Western Australia); Transport; Infrastructure; Waste and Sustainable Cities; Burma; Assisting on Defence from 1.7.11 to 1.7.12.
- Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy; Burma; Heritage; Housing, Infrastructure; Mining (WA); Nuclear; Sustainable Cities; Assisting on Defence; Assisting on National Security from 1.7.12 to 11.11.13.
- Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy; Housing; Nuclear; Infrastructure; Heritage and Sustainable Cities; Assisting Defence Materiel; Assisting on Resources and Energy from 11.11.13 to 1.7.14.
- Broadband; Communications and the Digital Economy; Defence; Housing and Sustainable Cities; Nuclear from 1.7.14 to 25.5.15.
- Foreign Affairs; Broadband; Communications and Digital Economy; Housing and Sustainable Cities; Nuclear from 25.5.15 to 15.9.15.
- Foreign Affairs; Broadband and Communications; Housing and Sustainable Cities; Nuclear from 15.9.15 to 25.8.16.
- Foreign Affairs; Defence and Veterans’ Affairs; International Aid and Development; Communications; Sustainable Cities; and Nuclear from 25.8.16.
- Born 10.1.1970, Palmerston North, New Zealand.
- Qualifications and occupation before entering Federal Parliament
- BA Design (Curtin University), GradDip Policy Studies (Murdoch).
- Graphic designer.
- Research officer.
- Electorate officer, Senator RM Siewert.