Australia’s resources minister resigned Tuesday from the Cabinet because of his dual citizenship, the third high-profile departure over the issue in recent weeks.
Matt Canavan said he had only learned of his citizenship of Italy recently when his mother, who, he said, had applied for Italian citizenship for him without his knowledge in January 2007, “raised the possibility.” Canavan was 25 at the time.
“I was not born in Italy, I have never been to Italy, and to my knowledge I have never set foot inside the Italian consulate or embassy,” Canavan told reporters.
His mother, Maria, is Australian-born, and hadn’t visited Italy, either, but had registered both herself and her son for overseas citizenship at the Italian consulate in Brisbane, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.
Although many Australians have dual citizenship, the country’s constitution forbids elected lawmakers from being a citizen of a second country.
Canavan, 36, who is seen as a rising star in conservative circles, said he won’t resign his parliament seat.
“In the short time available I have not been able to obtain definitive legal advice as to whether my registration as an Italian citizen, without my knowledge or consent, was valid under Italian law,” he said. “I am seeking to obtain that advice presently.”