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One Nation's Malcolm Roberts Off To High Court Over Citizenship Drama

Pauline Hanson has referred her own senator to court over possible British citizenship
Senator Malcolm Roberts and Senator Pauline Hanson at Parliament House.
Senator Malcolm Roberts and Senator Pauline Hanson at Parliament House.

Malcolm Roberts is the latest One Nation senator off to the High Court, with the question of his possible British citizenship to be considered amidst speculation he may have been ineligible for election.

Roberts was born in India to a Welsh father, and in the chaos of senators Larissa Waters, Scott Ludlam and Matt Canavan discovering their unknown dual citizenship, the One Nation Senator came under scrutiny over whether he was a citizen of any other country at the time of the July 2016 election.

Roberts and his party leader Pauline Hanson have maintained the Queensland Senator is not a dual citizen, but several media reports have shown Roberts had previously travelled on a British passport and classified himself as a citizen of the United Kingdom on official documents.

Roberts' office had reportedly threatened to refer journalists' questions about his citizenship status to police, claiming the media scrutiny amounts to "harassment", but on Wednesday it was confirmed that the Senator was off to the highest court in the land for a judgement on whether he was eligible to sit in parliament -- but he still isn't revealing the official documents, which he says clear his name, to the public.

"One Nation will be supporting Senator Malcolm Roberts' in his plan to refer himself to the High Court," Hanson said in a statement.

"It was always Senator Roberts' intention to submit his citizenship documents for public scrutiny and, in light of the major parties decision not to hold a full inquiry into the citizenship of Senators, it was deemed that the High Court would provide Senator Roberts the best opportunity to prove he has complied with the Australian Constitution and is a lawfully elected Senator of the Australian Parliament."

In a strange press conference following the announcement, Hanson and Roberts initially said they would not be taking questions because the matter was too "complex" and because "the media have misrepresented" the issue.

"Senator Roberts' case is a little bit more, can I say, it's not straightforward, as you may think. You've asked questions here, but that needs to now be determined by the High Court. I will not be responding to your questions in regards to it," Hanson said.

"It is a very complex case with regards to Senator Roberts. You don't understand the full situation, so therefore I'm not going to go into this."

While defending himself and claiming he was never a British citizen, Roberts also made an unfortunate slip of the tongue.

Hanson and Roberts maintain he renounced any British citizenship prior to the July 2016 election, but ignored repeated questions as to the exact date of any such renunciation.

"I am telling you now my belief is he is not a dual citizen. He was eligible to stand at the time of the nomination and I stand by that," Hanson said.

In the Senate on Wednesday afternoon, it was officially agreed that the High Court would investigate Roberts and his eligibility to sit in the parliament. It is unclear when Roberts' case will be heard before the court.

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