The high court has rejected a challenge by Labor over Family First candidate Lucy Gichuhi’s eligibility to take the South Australian Senate vacancy, and has confirmed her the nation’s newest MP.
The Australian government had opened an inquiry into the citizenship status of the Kenyan-born lawyer who won a seat in the federal parliament of Australia to represent South Australia in the senate.
In a High Court directions hearing this morning, Labor’s lawyers asked for more time to obtain evidence that Ms Gichuhi did not take reasonable steps to renounce her Kenyan citizenship before the July 2 election.
But Justice Jeffrey Nettle said there had been speculation since January that Ms Gichuhi would enter the Senate, giving ALP plenty of opportunity to investigate the matter.
“For those reasons the court is not (going to) grant more time,” Justice Nettle said.
Ms Gichuhi lost her Kenyan citizenship upon obtaining Australian citizenship. The mother of three was born in Hiriga Village of Mathira, Nyeri County and even her family in Nyeri has reported that Australian authorities have approached them while tracing her roots.
Labor’s national president Mark Butler, a South Australian MP, said the party made a decision late last night to test Ms Gichuhi’s candidacy to become a senator based on legal advice and unanswered questions.
Labor had also said its challenge was “not about Ms Gichuchi” but the “integrity of the Senate and the electoral system”.
“It is incredibly important that the validity of each senator’s election is beyond question,” he said. “The last thing the country needs is a re-run of the Bob Day disaster.”