NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 19 – Kenyan lawyer Lucy Gichuhi is set to be sworn in as an Australian Senator after the country’s High Court confirmed her citizenship.
The Australian Government 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 to determine whether she is eligible to serve.
Gichuhi became an Australian citizen in July 2001 after migrating from Kenya in 1999.
Under Australia’s Constitution, dual citizens cannot become Members of Parliament. However, the Kenyan Embassy there confirmed Gichuhi forfeited her Kenyan citizenship once she took on Australian citizenship.
Kenya’s High Commissioner to Australia, Isaiya Kabira, said that Gichuhi automatically lost her Kenyan citizenship when she became an Australian citizen.
In a short statement, Senator Gichuhi said the decision was not about her but rather the integrity of the Senate and Australia.
“I could not have imagined, nearly 20 years ago, that as a new Australian, I would one day have the opportunity to serve this great nation in the Senate.”
“My family and I are very grateful for this opportunity. My promise to Australians is that I hope to bring an altitude of reconciliatory politics and hopefully impact and not impose.” she added.
Noting that she would be joining “one of the most powerful senates in the world”, she said that she would talk to all parties before voting on legislation, but did not speak on specific policies.
“There are many contentious issues and matters of policy that challenge this Parliament,” she said.
“I appreciate that people wish to know my view on every single piece of policy and every issue. While my values will never change, my approach to matters before the Senate will be to take the best possible advice from all corners before finalising a particular position. I look forward to consulting with the government, the Opposition and the Senate Crossbench as I move towards playing an active, effective role in Parliament.”
Senator Gichuhi also thanked her predecessor Bob Day, who was found to have been not validly elected at last year’s federal election as the leasing arrangements for his South Australian electorate office had breached section 44 of the Constitution.
“I take the opportunity to pay homage to Bob Day. As a Family First Senator for over two years, Bob was an inspiration to not only me but to countless people here in South Australia and around the country. I know that Bob always sought to represent, to the best of his abilities, the people of South Australia and the values that he and Family First stand for.”
“Bob chose me to be his running mate, and while he has left public life, I and the Family First team will honour his extraordinary contribution for many years to come,” she said.