Australian politician quits over New Zealand citizenship scandal

"It's history making, there's three senators have now been ruled out all by different sections, different parts of section 44 of the constitution - we've had a disqualification for a conviction, one for a conflict of interest, and now one for citizenship".

Ludlam is required to repay his salary for his period in the senate - a sum that will exceed a million dollars.

Ludlum was born in New Zealand, but moved to Australia aged three.

"I apologise unreservedly for this mistake", the outgoing senator said. "This is an oversight that was avoidable and it's something I should have fixed up in 2006 when I first nominated".

Ludlam, the co-deputy leader who holds the communications and foreign affairs portfolios and who was first elected to the Senate in 2007, took responsibility for the oversight.

Australian Greens co-deputy leader Scott Ludlam is resigning from politics, after it emerged he holds dual citizenship of Australia and New Zealand.

The barrister at Francis Burt Chambers contacted Senator Ludlam's office last week "as a courtesy" to let them know he was sending proof of the Greens politician's New Zealand citizenship to the Clerk of the Senate.

'(I) assumed that was the end of my New Zealand citizenship'. He said he believed he automatically lost his NZ citizenship when he became an Australian in his teens.

"I am hoping common sense prevails".

Ludlam's Greens colleagues paid tribute to him on Twitter.

Mr Ludlam's spokesperson also declined to comment.

"(That) is my recollection as the way it's dealt with in the past", he said.

His resignation will leave a vacant seat in the Senate, which is likely to be filled by fellow Greens member 22-year-old disability activist, Jordan Steele-John. "He has been a strong representative for the people of WA and the nation on a range of issues from the anti-nukes movement, digital rights, housing and homelessness and so many others", he said in a statement.

The matter will be referred to the High Court, which is likely to formally disqualify him and order a recount of ballot papers from the 2016 election. He says he intends to follow former senators Bob Day and Rod Culleton in seeking an exemption from repayment from the Special Minister of State.

On Friday, Mr Ludlam quit after accepting he had been ineligible to be a senator since his election in 2008.

The dual citizenship means under the Australian constitution he can not legally be a member of the Australian Parliament.

The Australian High Court ruled that Senators Bob Day and Rod Culleton were ineligible for their jobs since a federal election a year ago.

  • Eleanor Harrison