Australian politician quits due to dual citizenship, third in two weeks

Australian Senator Matthew Canavan.

Story highlights

  • Australian minister quits post after discovering he has dual Italian citizenship
  • Third Australian politician in two weeks brought down by little-known clause

(CNN)An Australian cabinet minister is stepping down from his position after discovering he was made a dual Italian citizen without his knowledge.

Resources minister Matt Canavan is the third Australian politician in two weeks to fall victim to the country's little-known dual citizenship clause, after two Greens party senators resigned earlier in July.
The Australian constitution bars anyone who has citizenship in another country from standing for election.
Speaking at a press briefing in Brisbane, Canavan said his mother had accidentally applied for Italian citizenship for him in 2006, and she only told him about it on July 18.
"I was not born in Italy, I have never been to Italy and to my knowledge have never set foot in an Italian consulate or embassy. Until last week I had no suspicion that I could possibly be an Italian citizen," he said.
Canavan told journalists he would be leaving cabinet and the ministry while the matter was resolved but would not be leaving parliament yet.
"On the basis of the advice the government has obtained ... it is not my intention to resign from the senate. However given the uncertainty around this matter, I will stand aside until this matter is finally resolved," Canavan said.

Greens leaders resign

Earlier in July, the two deputy leaders of the Australian Greens resigned from the Australian Senate after discovering they were dual citizens.
Scott Ludlam quit on July 14 after he was informed he was a New Zealand citizen by birth. Ludlam had left New Zealand when he was just three years old.