Prologue - Can this really be happening? Popular, accomplished, respected and admired Australian Senator Larissa Waters resigns ... No scandal. It has to do with the circumstances of her birth.
Almost scandalous. Look she was born on February 8, 1977 in CANADA to Australian parents! No doubt about it. Under Canadian law she was born a Canadian citizen. Query, should Australia be deferring to Canadian law on this matter?
But, hold on just a minute here! Wasn't she born an Australian citizen too? Doesn't seem like it. Seems like she had to apply for Australian "citizenship by descent". In other words, was NOT an Australian citizen by birth.
Yup, looks easy enough. Looks like she just had to fill out a form (which she or her parents must have done.)
Meanwhile in Canada. Just a minute here! Just hold on! Shouldn't her claiming her Australian "citizenship by descent" mean that she would have lost her Canadian citizenship? Surely Canada wouldn't have allowed dual citizenship? Or would it? On February 8, 1977 (when Larissa Waters was born) Canada did NOT allow dual citizenship.
Oh My God! Exactly one week after Ms. Waters was born - on February 15, 1977 Canada changed its citizenship laws to allow "dual citizenship". Unless she followed "Changes In Canadian Citizenship law" she wouldn't have known this. Bottom line: Born a Canadian, always a Canadian unless she renounces Canadian citizenship.
It could be worse. At least Canadian citizenship is easy to renounce. She should be happy she was NOT born a U.S. citizen which is VERY DIFFICULT and expensive to renounce (including the possibility of being subjected to U.S. Exit taxes.
Speaking of being "Born In The USA" and acquiring U.S. citizenship by birth ...
This is unbelievable. "Just soli" citizenship (citizenship conferred by being born in a country) is non-consensual citizenship. Should citizenship be conferred automatically (without an "opt in" mechanism?) and "stalk you" the rest of your life? Maybe time to rethink "Just Soli" citizenship.
Canada says she is a citizen. Does Australia have to accept that she is a Canadian citizen when Ms. Waters is a citizen and resident of Australia? Interesting question ...
But we are really seeing the beginning of the "weaponization" of citizenship". There are at least three ways of "weaponizing citizenship".
1. Citizenship as a political weapon. If you don't like the Green Party and Larissa Waters, why not just dig up the fact that she was born in Canada. Means that she has Canadian citizenship NOT chosen but CONFERRED on her by Canada. Quick, convenient and political death. Love it! Don't like an Australian politician. Accuse them of having been born in CANADA or the USA! (In a FATCA world the most frightening accusation is the accusation of having been "Born In The USA".)
By the way, it's only a minority of countries that automatically impose citizenship based solely on having been born in that country - including Canada and the USA.