Labor candidate for Hughes quits race due to Greek citizenship concerns

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Labor must move quickly to find a replacement candidate for the federal seat of Hughes in Sydney’s south after local teacher, Peter Tsambalas, withdrew over section 44 citizenship concerns, 7News reports.

Tsambalas was preselected unopposed by ALP branch members in January, but he had not been officially endorsed as he was waiting for notification from Greek authorities that he had officially renounced his Greek citizenship.

Despite being born in Australia and having Australian citizenship, Tsambalas acquired dual citizenship via his migrant parents.

Peter Tsambalas.

According to The Guardian, this is sufficient to trigger section 44 of the constitution which says a person is ineligible to run for federal parliament if they are “under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power.”

In a statement on Facebook, Tsambalas said: “My team and I put every effort into resolving the citizenship question but it is clear we will not get there in time.”

“I want to thank all those who have supported me to this point. We spent several months working hard on the campaign and I believe I would have taken the fight up well in Hughes,” Tsambalas continued.

Both sides of politics acknowledge that section 44 of the constitution poses a significant impediment for candidates who come from a multicultural background.

However, changing section 44 would require a referendum and no steps have yet been taken to achieve that change.

Source: The Guardian.

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