One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts has attempted to clarify his citizenship status after a spokesman reportedly said he was “choosing to believe he was never British” .
Since Roberts’ election in July 2016, questions over his potential dual citizenship have been raised given its potential to render him ineligible to sit as a senator under section 44 of the constitution.
Roberts told Sky News on Thursday he had written to British officials on 1 May last year asking if he was a UK citizen. He said had no reason to believe he was British, but thought it best to double-check while filling out a nomination form for the Senate.
He said he received no response so wrote again on 6 June – three days before nominations closed for the federal election – saying that if he had British citizenship, he fully renounced it.
“I’ve taken all steps that I reasonably believe necessary,” he told Sky News.
The British High Commission did not confirm Roberts had renounced his citizenship until 5 December, six months after he nominated as a Senate candidate.
But Roberts said he was confident of withstanding a high court challenge to his eligibility.
“Very confident, and I’ve received advice legally to the same effect. [I am] very pleased with that advice,” he said.
Roberts showed what he said were documents supporting his claims to Sky News presenter Paul Murray, but they were not displayed on screen.
The case of the senator’s citizenship has got curiouser and curiouser in a week in which dual citizenship claimed its third victim in the federal parliament – the resources minister Matt Canavan.
On 25 October last year, a spokesman for Roberts told Guardian Australia he was born in India to expatriate parents, but had only ever held one citizenship.
“Senator Roberts has never held any other citizenship other than his Australian citizenship,” the spokesman said at the time. “He’s had to obtain visas when he’s travelled to the United Kingdom and to…