Jul 26, 2017

Canavan’s caravan of confusion should have hit the road

It's unsurprising that Matt Canavan hasn't resigned from the Senate. The idea of responsibility is one that the major parties have little interest in.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

There's been much beard-stroking in the media coverage about why senator-perhaps Matt Canavan is a special case compared to former senators Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters, so it's fair that, instead of resigning, the High Court should consider his position. It's more of the charmed media life that Canavan seems to lead. His extremism on coal (he called for a boycott of Westpac for not wasting enough shareholders' money on unviable coal projects) and on abortion (he stood up for the rights of those nutjobs who harass women outside reproductive health clinics) rarely seem to get mentioned in media coverage. Instead, Canavan is portrayed as an energetic rising star of the LNP. And now, here he is, a victim of his mother's application for Italian citizenship -- he didn't even know and he's never even been there. Surely it's just a minor hurdle in his ever-upward career trajectory? Not like those sloppy Greens senators.

In fact, Canavan's case compares poorly with those of Ludlam and Waters. They, too, didn't know they were citizens of New Zealand and Canada, respectively, courtesy of their parents. Ludlam at least was a kid when he was brought by his family to live in Australia, where he was naturalised as an Australian. He can remember being in New Zealand. Waters was a baby, the child of Australians temporarily in Canada who moved back home soon after. Waters acquired Canadian citizenship like you'd pick up a cold while travelling. Indeed, the relevant Canadian laws were changed just after her birth -- as the law stood when she was born, she wouldn't have been a Canadian, but the new law was retroactive.

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45 thoughts on “Canavan’s caravan of confusion should have hit the road

  1. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    George Christensen for resources and tattoos minister, now!

  2. zut alors

    I’m not convinced Canavan is eligible to be a member of the Coalition regardless of dual nationality. Anyone with LNP DNA would not blame their mother, it would be the fault of Labor.

    1. klewso

      She might vote Labor?

  3. Dog's Breakfast

    Waters case is particularly difficult and unfortunate. Ludlam’s unfortunate because NZ was part of the initial discussions in forming the Federation, pulling out some time early in negotiations, and both of them were still pledging allegiance to the Queen, which makes the monarchist position particularly tricky to argue.

    Canavan, I don’t know, whose mother applies for citizenship on their behalf, when they are an adult, without telling them. In his case at least, it was a foreign power.

    And how is it that current Ministers can still swear allegiance to the Crown in their appointments rather than Australia, as I understand former Labor ministers did.

    Different rules if you are in government, when was it ever different?

    1. klewso

      What I can’t understand is his timing?
      Eleven days after Ludlam? A week after Waters and the day after 4 Corners aired that story of the wealthy squattochracy, agribusinesses/donors(?) ripping off the Murray-Darling and their fellow farmers down-stream?

    2. Nudiefish

      New Zealand is even in the preamble of our constitution listed as an Australian state (s6, from memory).

      1. Anniejean

        And I thought he was just stupid

      2. Anniejean

        Could it be that NZ dropped out as they objected to the constitutional lack of respect for indigenous rights.if indigenous peoples in Australia had rights over water(it seems really odd that they don’t) then well we can all imagine the outcome

    3. SQuinny1

      @Dogs Breakfast https://article.wn.com/view/2007/05/23/Nestle_employees_jailed_over_16m_fraud/

      There were reasons for the application, and they indicate the Matt would have known.

  4. leon knight

    Canavan is an absolute disgrace, but in in good company in Turnbull’s team…a bit cruel to tar federal Labor with the same brush though Bernard; apart from Rudd I am struggling to think of anyone in s
    Shorten’s team that can compete on the LNP level of outrageous behaviour.

    1. Dion Giles

      Always remember about Rudd that during the Global Financial Heist Rudd’s government, alone in the OECD, governed for the people rather than for the spivs. That’s how we dodged the bullet fashioned by the world’s capitalist class.

      1. Susan Anderson

        Yes and no, the bank spivs here weren’t as affected by the sub prime crisis due to regulation so they didn’t need the bailout that they did in the US and Europe

  5. MJM

    “Wondering why voters are so disengaged with politics and so suspicious of the political class?” I am neither disengaged nor suspicious. I am simply angry and becoming more so each day.

    In the matter of three senators recently the subject of S 44 all could blame it on their mother. Two had their babies in a country not Australia and a third is claimed to have made an application for dual citizenship for her adult son without his knowledge or signature. If it is necessary for the first two to resign then why not the third?

    I don’t care to have the Deputy PM tell me Senator Canavan’s mother is upset. I want to know why the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources has allowed such egregious water theft along the Barwon-Darling rivers. An answer would be good, but unlikely.

    1. Charlie Chaplin

      I find the angrier I get, the more engaged I am and suspect you do, too, MJM, but unfortunately BK is right, it has the opposite effect on most. I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve been told “I’m not interested in politics.” or “Oh well. They’re all in it for themselves. No point getting angry, it won’t change anything.”

      I often wonder what would happen if all the media took their job to inform as seriously as Crikey, the Schwartz Media and NM. I reckon you’d have a lot more anger and a lot less disengagement.

      Good read, BK. The Coalition’s actions over Canavan’s breach of s44 were a foregone conclusion, right down to me and you and us footing the bill for him to contest it in the High Court. Perhaps some good may come out of it and s44 will be consigned to the dust bin, where it belongs.

      It would be interesting to see how the MSM are spinning it, but that would mean checking out the MSM and I’m not feeling masochistic today.

    2. DF

      Joyce’s response to the Four Corners piece is disgraceful. He is the Federal Minister for Water. The issue is a Federal one, involving four states – one where he was born, a second where is the seat he nominally represents in the House of Reps. Yet his response is that it is a state matter. His squibbing of any responsibility for investigating or redressing such egregious behaviour by people he represents (the farmers) against people he represents (farmers) should be sufficient to see the non-election next time of all the National Party reps in seats affected by the Murray-Darling fiasco, as well as all National Senators in the four states.
      I think he would have been a lot more involved if NSW had a Labor Govt and Vic and SouthAust had Liberal Govts.

      1. PaulM

        Say what you like about SA, but they don’t elect Nationals Senators!

    3. Susan Anderson

      HEAR HEAR, couldn’t agree more, this the worst government in our history is making me ropeable

  6. lloydois

    Actually, Bernard, it’s far worse than this. Emma Alberici has confirmation from the Italian Consulate that “Once you become an adult you need to present in person and fill out the forms yourself. A parent cannot do that on your behalf”.

    The process has been in place for over 2 decades so Canavan is flat out lying and Brandis as Attorney General is complicit in this.

    It’s more than a disgrace. They should both be sacked immediately.

  7. klewso

    Would it matter if one was a citizen of the USA – “foreign policy” for starters, being what it is?

  8. klewso

    “Hi. You have reached the Canavans. We are unable to take your call right now, but if you leave yadayadayada”
    “Matthew! Bambino! This is your Mamma. I know it’s early, just thought I’d catch you up. Did you see that 4 Corners last night – all that water, all those tax-payer dollars, all that waste? What’s Kevin Humphries doing these days …. It’s a good thing we got you looking after our resources for the whole country. Coal comfort? That nice Mr Adani – been breaking any more naan with him? We had curry last night, I got heartburn again . Which reminds me……”

  9. Michael Kennedy

    Surely this also creates problems for Jewish MPs who, under Israel’s ‘The Law of Return 5710’, have the perpetual ‘right of return’ (Israeli citizenship) to Israel – as do their family members (including non-Jews), ‘Nationality Law, 5712’.

  10. klewso

    Anyone catch Lateline July 05(?) – what else the Party has been up too – land-clearing and respect for that law as well? Joyce and Humphries both popping up to show their “support” for the environment then as well.

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