Resources Minister and Queensland Liberal National Party senator Matt Canavan has resigned from cabinet after discovering he may hold dual Italian citizenship, potentially rendering him ineligible to hold office under s44 of the constitution. He will remain in the Senate while his citizenship status is clarified, the government announced this evening, with the High Court to be asked rule on his citizenship status give his mother's Italian ancestry. "I have become aware that according to the Italian government, I am a citizen of Italy," Canavan said at a media conference this evening, due to his mother's application for Italian citizenship more than a decade ago. He says he was unaware of his Italian citizenship.
Canavan, who has been a hardline rightwinger and coal spruiker in his time in parliament since entering the Senate in 2014, is the third politician to be caught out recently by s44, which prohibits people with citizenships other than of Australia, or even entitled to hold other citizenships, from being elected. Greens senators Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters have resigned in the last two weeks after discovering they were, respectively, New Zealand and Canadian dual citizens.