Super Saturday is largely about dual-citizenship and the Labor party. Why do you think that is, why are no Liberal politicians being challenged over their citizenship ? Well, clearly that is a rhetorical question as we all know that Liberal parliamentarians are chosen form on-high : born to rule dont’cha know.
Lucy Gichuhi, the Kenyan senator is however an interesting case study having originally been elected to represent Family First and then been encouraged to jump ship to the Liberals who, through their SA branch pre-selection process have now given her the potentially unwinnable fourth place on their Senate ticket.
Whilst Turnbull came out strongly to support Ann Sudmalis, representing the Division of Gilmore in New South Wales, who was also being challenged for pre-selection, he has been noticeably silent when it comes to Gichuhi which is quite surprising when you consider that she brings to the Liberals two things they lack : ethnic diversity and that she is a woman.
Perhaps the answer lies in the ongoing dual-citizenship debacle. Gichuhi considers that she automatically lost her Kenyan citizenship when she became an Australian citizen in 2001. However, it seems that in this she may have been mistaken following comments recently from the University of Nairobi professor Edwin Abuya, a constitutional expert who says Gichuhi should have formally applied to Kenya’s nationality affairs minister to renounce her Kenyan citizenship when seeking sole Australian citizenship.
Simon Birmingham tried to muddy the waters by saying that the high court had deemed Gichuhi as eligible to replace Bob Day as a South Australian senator in the federal parliament when the Family First senator resigned after a constitutional breach concerning the lease of his Adelaide office. Certainly the high court were satisfied that Gichuhi had been properly chosen to enter the senate but they were not asked to make a determination on her citizenship and the high court only ever answers the questions they are asked and Turnbull doesn’t want this question asked.
When the SA Branch of the Liberal party gave Gichuhi the fourth and potentially unwinnable position on their senate ticket for the next election you could have anticipated that Turnbull would come out strongly to support her but that has not been the case. It now seems that the possibility of another dual citizenship debacle is too great a price to pay for the Liberal party, evidently outweighing the much needed diversity she brings to a party who desperately need representation from people of her gender and ethnicity.
Personally I believe that Lucy Gichuhi has much more to offer our parliament and the Liberal party than the likes of Georgina Downer but it doesn’t seem that the SA branch of the Liberal party see it that way and Turnbull will not discuss dual citizenship anymore : he’s moved on.