Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie caught up in citizenship crisis

Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie is confident she will retain her electorate despite becoming the latest MP drawn into the country’s citizenship crisis.

Ms Sharkie, who was born in the UK and moved to Australia when she was one, has revealed her British citizenship was renounced 20 days after nominations for the 2016 poll had closed.

If the High Court determines Ms Sharkie did not take "reasonable steps" to renounce her citizenship before the 2016 election, it could mean she was not validly elected under a strict interpretation of section 44 of the constitution.

This would put her at risk of losing the seat of Mayo.

On Thursday, November 10, she received a phone call from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull suggesting she refer herself to the High Court, where her eligibility for Parliament would be investigated.

However, Ms Sharkie told The Times she did not believe a bi-election would be necessary.

“The expert legal advice I have received is that I have complied with the Constituent by doing everything within my power to renounce my citizenship prior to nomination,” she said.

“That said, not for one day have I ever taken this seat for granted… I will continue to work every day to make Mayo matter.”

She said she had no control over the speed at which the UK Home Office processed her application.

“I note that well over a month would have passed before I actually nominated for the Seat of Mayo… I believe that I took all steps that were required by the UK to renounce any entitlement to UK citizenship, that were within my power to do so.”

Ms Sharkie said she would willingly comply with the declaration of citizenship process that would soon be implemented.

“If that process determines my case should be referred to the High Court, I will of course respect that. However, I am confident that I have complied with Section 44 (1) of the constitution,” she said.

Nick Xenophon, leader of the NXT party, said Australians were sick of the uncertainty caused by the citizenship crisis.

“It has virtually paralysed the parliament… the proposals from NXT are a fair and sensible way forward that will de-polarise the process and provide a fair basis to move forward,” he said.

“Having an independent panel of constitutional experts, respected by all sides in the parliament, will give certainty and go along way in restoring public confidence."