It starts with a media report, then proceeds in ritualistic fashion: initially there are denials; the MP and party officials believe they have no issue around their eligibility. That belief, it turns out, isn't backed by evidence; the "checking" that they've done proves cursory or non-existent or an exercise in firing off emails to non-existent addresses. Embassies and High Commissions are contacted -- the UK High Commission in Canberra must now have a full-time case officer to handle citizenship requests -- and more often than not, the news from the diplomats is not good.

While the government and the opposition haggle over the details of a self-reporting scheme in the register of pecuniary interests, the drip of cases continues. John Alexander awaits the call from the Brits; Jacqui Lambie could be a Scot; Jason Falinski might be a Pole; Pauline Hanson is mentioned in dispatches -- hilarious if true, a second senator from a passionately anti-immigration party turfed out for being the descendant of migrants -- Labor MPs who renounced their citizenship before election might be caught out anyway. The ravenous section 44 demands ever more political blood, to be fed by the High Court, through the portals of which lies a corner of some foreign field that is forever England/New Zealand/Canada, wherein a growing number of political careers lie interred.