Poll call to end citizenship crisis

Joel Peterson | Bendigo Weekly | 17-Nov-2017

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Lisa Chesters speaks to the media. Photo: Andrew Perryman.
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BENDIGO MP Lisa Chesters says she will meet the December 1 deadline for declaring any dual citizenship set this week.

Both sides of federal politics came to an agreement on Monday to compel all MPs to confirm their citizenship status by the start of next month.

The federal Labor member says she is ready to meet the deadline and has all the relevant paperwork in place.

Ms Chesters’ father was born in England, and she renounced her UK citizenship before being elected in 2013.

While confident that she has no citizenship dramas lying in wait, she told ABC Radio the best way to end the drama once and for all would be to call an election.

While on campus at La Trobe University this week to denounce the coalition’s proposed cuts to university funding, she said the saga has become a distraction.

“It’s part of the reason why I decided to come on campus today and remind senators in Canberra that there is still a job they need to do,” she said.

“The citizenship saga has become a distraction. It is important because we don’t quite know if the people sitting in Canberra can legitimately be there.”

The government is attempting to pass the Higher Education Amendment Bill through the senate this week, which Ms Chesters says would see greatly increased student fees.

“On average they’ll pay an extra $3600 for a four-year degree and at the same time lower the income rate at which point they’ll start to pay back their university degree down to $42,000 dollars,” she said.

“This bill is bad, it’s bad for regional students and it’s bad for regional campuses like Bendigo.”

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