Crossbencher Derryn Hinch is considering referring himself to the High Court because he has a United States social security card that could disqualify him from the Senate.
“I plan to raise the issue with the solicitor-general and, if necessary, will refer myself to the High Court acting as the Court of Disputed Returns,” the former Australian broadcaster told the Herald Sun on Wednesday.
Under section 44 of the constitution, people are ineligible to hold office if they are a “citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or a citizen of a foreign power”.
“I paid a special social security tax for 10 years, on top of regular income tax, which makes me entitled to a pension,” Senator Hinch said.
“That’s not a privilege. It’s payment for that tax I paid in the 1960s and 1970s.
“I did write to the US Social Security Department instructing them not to pay that pension because I was now a senator.”
Five members of parliament, including Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, face a High Court test of their eligibility to serve as MPs. Another two MPs, including cabinet minister Fiona Nash, are set to be referred to the court by parliament next week.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was standing firm against an audit of all MPs on Thursday – as Senator Hinch has called for – insisting the court has seven so-called test cases to consider.
“They will do that in the second week of October so I think we will have the law clarified then,” he told the Seven Network.
The citizenship saga claimed its first…
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