The Australian High Court has rejected a challenge by Labor on the eligibility of South Australian Family First Senator Lucy Gichuhi based on concerns about her citizenship, the ABC has reported.
Katy Gallagher, the Labor's acting shadow attorney-general had argued that there were legitimate questions about her eligibility that needed to be answered. The full bench of the High Court has however rejected a push by lawyers for Labor's Anne McEwen, who wanted to challenge Senator Gichuhi's eligibility based on whether she still retained her Kenyan citizenship.
Senator Gichuhi, who was born in Kenya, will in effect replace Bob Day as a South Australian senator in the Federal Parliament..
Commonwealth Solicitor-General Stephen Donaghue said Kenyan law stated that a Kenyan's citizenship was automatically withdrawn once a person was over 21 and had taken up citizenship in another country.
In his ruling, Justice Geoffrey Nettle said Ms McEwen had ample time to arm herself with the evidence needed to challenge whether the senator had taken reasonable steps to denounce her Kenyan citizenship, as the issue had been before the court several times.
Jeremy Kirk, acting on behalf of Ms McEwen, said he was still waiting on a report from an expert in Kenyan law as evidence to prove Senator Gichuhi held two citizenships.
Senator Gichuhi migrated to Australia in 1999 and said she became an Australian citizen in 2001 and never held dual citizenship. She has been a volunteer lawyer eith the Women Legal Service.
Australia's constitution precludes anyone with dual citizenship from being in the parliament.
Gichuhi said she is "deeply respectful" of both the legal and electoral processes and see this as an opportunity to “give back to this great nation.”