Larissa Waters has resigned from the Senate after revealing she holds dual citizenship with Canada.
The co-deputy leader’s resignation comes after Greens senator Scott Ludlam discovered he held dual citizenship with New Zealand and resigned last week. The constitution bars dual citizens from eligibility for election, unless they can show they have taken reasonable steps to sever foreign ties.
Waters was born in Canada to Australian parents who were studying overseas and came to Australia when she was a baby, growing up in Brisbane. She has not returned to Canada since she was 11 months old.
Her resignation means the Greens will be down two votes in the Senate for at least a short period of time, affecting the balance of power and potentially making it easier for the government to pass legislation.
Parliament will resume in early August after the winter break, and a Senate vote has been deadlocked for months on the Turnbull government’s plan to deregulate media ownership regulations.
The shift in the numbers in the Senate could create a useful window of opportunity for the Coalition. But a key Senate powerbroker, Nick Xenophon, pointedly warned the government against abusing its temporary numerical advantage in the Senate.
“No party should opportunistically abuse the situation while replacements are being chosen,” Xenophon told Guardian Australia.
“If people start abusing the situation as that would set a bad precedent with a long term poisonous effect on the operation of the Senate.”
A spokesman for the One Nation leader, Pauline Hanson, echoed Xenophon’s sentiments. He said One Nation would “caution” the government about maximising its moment of opportunity in the upper house.
The Greens said on Tuesday afternoon they had secured agreement from the Turnbull government to have the two votes “paired” until the Senate vacancies are filled.
The Greens leader Richard Di Natale acknowledged his party had chalked up a “terrible month” –…