Australian senator resigns after finding he has dual citizenship

Scott Ludlam born in New Zealand

Scott Ludlam
Scott Ludlam

A senator from Australia was forced to resign after realizing he was a citizen of Australia and New Zealand.

According to The Associated Press, deputy leader of the Greens party, Scott Ludlam, says he was "personally devastated" when he learned he was a citizen of New Zealand, thus making him ineligible for the job. The Australian constitution states a "citizen of a foreign power" cannot hold a seat in the Australian Parliament.

Ludlam was born in New Zealand and moved to Australia when he was 3 years old. He was elected to the Senate in 2008 and has since served three terms. Should the government decide to do so, it can demand Ludlam pay back millions of dollars in salary and expenses because technically, he had never been a senator.

"I'm hoping common sense prevails. If I'd known all along this was the case and I'd just been sprung, maybe they would have a case, but this is as much of a surprise to me as it was to anybody else," Ludlam said.