IT ONLY TOOK FOUR MONTHS TO FINALLY GET SOMETHING OFFICIAL OUT OF LUKE HARTSUYKER ABOUT HIS CITIZENSHIP STATUS – AND WHEN HE DID, HE STUFFED IT UP!
Statement by Andrew Woodward, President, Bellinger River Branch, Labor. 5 November 2017
Luke Hartsuyker owes the people of his electorate of an apology. He has finally done what he should have done back in August and that is seek and table official documents with the Parliament confirming his citizenship status. What has occurred today should have been done back in August. Instead he ducked, weaved or hid on the issue for four months. And then when he had to, he stuffed it up.
Luke Hartsuyker should apologise to the electorate for the four month delay, which again showed his disrespect of the electorate and his contempt for the principles of accountability.
He also needs to pay more attention to what he submits to the parliamentary register of citizenship. In short, he stuffed it up. On page one of the parliamentary submission it asks “Citizenship held at birth” and Mr Hartsuyker replied “AUSTRALIAN”. But the letter he included from the Netherlands Government says “You were born on their 28th of April 1959… and therefore obtained Dutch nationality under….”. His answer to section two therefore should have read “AUSTRALIAN AND DUTCH”. It defies belief that he could answer this question incorrectly as it was at the heart of the matter. The Dutch Government gave him a letter which stated this in black and white. When it comes to administrative sloppiness, the Nationals just keep on giving.
Amateurism aside, It took nearly four months to get something official from him. And he had to be made to do it. The Nationals just don’t get it. The Leader and Deputy leader lost their positions in parliament because of the issue. Wouldn’t any professional and responsible person want to clear up any doubt as quickly as possible, given that his two bosses just got done? Not, our Luke! He had to be dragged kicking and screaming to tell the truth. And he only got the letter from the Dutch Government in late November. The whole thing is laughable.
On behalf of the people of Cowper, Labor first called on Mr Hartsukyer to release documents about his citizenship on 12 August 2017. He never responded to our request in writing. Mr Hartsuyker then spent a few months making conflicting statements about his citizenship status. We examined these and on 4 November 2017 again called on him to make a statement and release documents. He ignored us, again.
He has now tabled documents in parliament supporting his view that he is eligible to continue to hold his seat in parliament on the basis that he doesn’t hold citizenship or dual citizenship of or with another country.
Luke Hartsuyker has done this week what he should have done four months ago voluntarily. We hope Mr Hartsuyker learns from this experience and puts the electorate first and his ego second in future matters of public importance. A good starting point would be an apology to the people of the electorate followed by a course on how to fill in forms.
Updated: 5 December 2017