Malcolm Turnbull
Malcolm Turnbull

Is this knockout blow for the PM?

FEDERAL MP John Alexander has announced he is a dual citizen, confirming his British citizenship in a press conference.

Mr Alexander is the second Lower House Coalition MP to resign over the citizenship saga and has triggered another by-election for the unpredictable Sydney seat of Bennelong.

"I have always believed that I am Australian and solely Australian. In view of recent events and the High Court decision, in my position, I have had to thoroughly examine my situation.

"My right to remain in parliament depends on my belief that I am solely Australian. Given what I have learned about the Constitution and understanding now of the High Court decision just a couple of weeks ago, I can no longer, with sufficient certainty, maintain the belief that I have held through my 66 years.

"Therefore, it is my obligation that I must resign. That's what I will do. I think there is a great need for certainty, to clarify the situation and to do so as expeditiously as possible. I will seek the support of my party to contest the by-election for Bennelong," Mr Alexander said.

The Federal MP was outed as potentiall having British citizenship on Monday night, a claim Mr Alexander said is "not absolutely conclusive".

"It is not absolutely conclusive, but the balance, the probability of evidence is that I most likely am. I think that I got, simply got to the point I couldn't hold the belief with the level of certainty that I think I needed to have," he told the reporters.

Mr Turnubll previously said he would expect the Bennelong MP to step down immediately if he received confirmation he is a British citizen, something Mr Alexander confirmed yesterday.

"I felt I had to resign, that's why I have chosen to do. I spoke to the Prime Minister late yesterday. I told him of my intentions. He encouraged me to be decisive, to act expeditiously, and to put things beyond any question of doubt.

"That's what I think the people of Bennelong want and what Australia is tired of this absurd situation. I don't have any degrees, I have a degree in common sense and it doesn't make any common sense," he said.

The Federal MP went on to detail his involvement in the Bennelong community.

"I have been involved in this community for a long period of time. From 1981 when I coached tennis during school holidays at Tennis World in Ryde to working for Channel 7 in Epping, to being the general manager, managing director, rather, of Next Generation clubs where we developed the Ryde aquatic centre and the Next Generation club there," he said.

Despite Mr Alexander's dual citizenship forcing the MP to resign, he said he is still working hard for the community.

"As the member for Bennelong, I have been hugely proud of this community and I've done a refresher course in the last five weeks when I did the 100km walk to raise money and awareness of leukaemia. It was a reminder of the generosity of this community and why I am so proud to support it," he said.

Federal Liberal Bennelong MP John Alexander takes part in the Worlds Greatest Shave after completing his 100km walk for the same charity. Picture: Justin Sanson
Federal Liberal Bennelong MP John Alexander takes part in the Worlds Greatest Shave after completing his 100km walk for the same charity. Picture: Justin Sanson


The seat of Bennelong is once again in play after the MP was outed as potentially having British citizenship by descent on Monday.

The son of a British migrant, Mr Alexander admitted on Tuesday he believes his dad renounced his UK citizenship soon after migrating to Australia, but his check has since revealed he is a dual citizen.

Former prime minister John Howard was elected to Bennelong in 1974 and stayed there throughout his parliamentary career when he lost government to Kevin Rudd in 2007.

The seat went to political rookie Maxine McKew, who was rocketed into the hard-fought election with the aid of the public profile she had built up as a high profile journalist with the ABC.

Before entering politics, Ms McKew had held some of the biggest media gigs including hosting the national broadcaster's Lateline and 7.30 Report programs.

Her political career was however short-lived when the Liberals put up another celebrity candidate against her, winning back the seat with the aid of tennis great Alexander who has now represented Bennelong since 2010.

In last year's federal election, Mr Alexander won comfortably against Labor's candidate - North Ryde mum Lyndal Howison - with more than 50 per cent of the vote.

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