Justice Minister Michael Keenan denies UK citizenship report

Turnbull Government cabinet minister Michael Keenan has rubbished a media report questioning whether he may be a UK dual citizen.

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“I renounced my citizenship in 2004 before entering Parliament,” Mr Keenan wrote on Twitter just after 6am on Thursday.  

“I am an Australian citizen and I do not hold citizenship of any other country. Fairfax is aware of this, yet in a cheap grab for a headline they have ignored this. I have to wonder why they’re not pursuing Labor with such vigour,” he wrote.

1/3 I am an Australian citizen and I do not hold citizenship of

any other country. Fairfax is aware of this, yet in a cheap grab #auspol

— Michael Keenan MP (@MichaelKeenanMP) August 16, 20172/3 …for a headline they have ignored this.

I have to wonder why they’re not pursuing Labor with such

vigour. #auspol

— Michael Keenan MP (@MichaelKeenanMP) August 16, 20173/3 I renounced my citizenship in 2004 before entering

Parliament. #auspol

— Michael Keenan MP (@MichaelKeenanMP) August 16, 2017

Fairfax Media reported the Justice Minister may be a British citizen by descent thanks to his father Peter, who was born in England in 1943 and emigrated to Australia, where he married. 

The dual citizenship scandal sweeping through Canberra has now seen five politicians referred to the High Court, including deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce. 

Section 44 of the Constitution prohibits parliamentarians from holding dual citizenship. 

Along with the Barnaby Joyce case, the High Court is considering the cases of two resigned Greens senators – Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters – as well as LNP Senator Matt Canavan and One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts, who are both remaining in their jobs until the cases have been heard.

The High Court has set down a directions hearing next Thursday for Mr Joyce, Mr Canavan and Mr Roberts.

Ministers rally around Keenan, saying documents not needed

Immigration minister Peter Dutton said current “hype” around the dual citizenship “sideshow” in Canberra was to blame for the Fairfax Media article on Mr Keenan.

“I think there’s a lot of hype around this and frankly I think it’s overdone,” Mr Dutton said.

Asked if Mr Keenan should publically release his UK citizenship renunciation documents, Mr Dutton said he had “dealt with that matter”.

“Michael Keenan’s been very clear about his status.”

Treasurer Scott Morrison also defended his colleague and did not respond to questions from reporters on whether the justice minister should release documentary evidence.

“I think Michael’s dealt with the matter this morning. He actually dealt with it a long time ago. So the government is getting on with our business,” Mr Morrison said. 

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