Australian Energy and Resources Minister, Josh Frydenberg might need to resign due to recent allegations that he is a dual citizen, theaustralian.com.au reports. Frydenberg’s mother was born in Hungary but left the country during World War II and entered Australia as a stateless Jew. According to the law, dual citizens cannot hold political office in Australia.
Frydenberg’s mother was born in Hungary in 1943, and she spent some time in a displaced persons’ camp. She had to flee the Holocaust, so she left Hungary as a child and arrived in Australia as a stateless Jew.
Problems emerged for Frydenberg due to a certain Hungarian citizenship law which was designed to address the stateless status of Jews, who were driven out of Hungary during World War II. According to this law, anyone who was born in Hungary between 1941 and 1945 is automatically considered a citizen. Hungarian citizenship act also states that: “The child of a Hungarian citizen shall become a Hungarian citizen by birth.”
Frydenberg claims that he investigated this issue when it was first raised months ago. At the same time when the dual citizen issue became prominent in Australia.
“It was very clear to me then, as it is now, that in order to become a Hungarian citizen, you actually have to take active steps to go through an interview process, to provide all the relevant documentation, to be considered as a Hungarian citizen. Neither of those steps were taken in my case, or on my behalf.”
Gábor Hajdu, a Hungarian citizenship expert working with the embassy in Canberra said that there was “probably a 50 per cent likelihood” that Frydenberg was a Hungarian citizen. He added that “the law in this area is extremely complicated.” Even Hajdu was uncertain whether Frydenberg is considered a Hungarian citizen or not. He also said that:
“Latent citizenship is not the same as citizenship, but there’s still the potential that he could be a citizen. It’s a fine line. It’s a very fuzzy area.”
The dual citizen issue became prominent in Australia a few months ago. Other cabinet ministers were also forced to clarify their citizenship. Former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce and former liberal senate president Stephen Parry both had to resign due to dual citizenship.
Australian Attorney-General, George Brandis called this citizenship drama a “witch hunt.” He and other senior cabinet MPs use Josh Frydenberg’s case to argue against an audit of parliamentarians. He told Sky News that:
“This should not become a witch hunt and that is what it is now becoming, this is not Salem in the 1690s where we go around whispering allegations about other people on the basis of no facts whatsoever and then demanding they prove that they are constitutionally entitled.”
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