Aug 25, 2017

Govt might not lose members over citizenship scandal, but it will lose votes

In a disaffected electorate convinced it's one rule for them and another for elites, the citizenship issue couldn't be worse for politicians of all stripes.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

The citizenship saga/imbroglio/brouhaha/scandal probably couldn't have come at a worse time in Australian politics. There's probably no good time for politicians, as a class, to be discredited by a widespread inability to fill out forms properly, even if the problem is mainly confined to members of minor parties. But at a time when the government is deeply unpopular, led by a man seen as disappointing all the high hopes that attended his ascension to the prime ministership, and when there is widespread disenchantment with the economic framework that has shaped the polity for the last 30 years, this is pretty much the last thing, other than say a major corruption scandal, that we need.

Worse, though, in a way that those of us inside the Canberra bubble probably won't quite get, is that the stories on offer on the part of the MPs and senators before the High Court have changed significantly. In particular, the circumstances in which senator Matt Canavan became an Italian citizen appear to have changed radically. This was Canavan exactly a month ago, when he revealed his citizenship problem:

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