The Australian senator who became the first woman to breastfeed in the country’s parliament has resigned.
Larissa Waters, who is a member of the country’s Green Party, resigned on Tuesday after discovering she has duel citizenship in both Australia and Canada. It a breach of Australia’s constitution for sitting senators to have duel citizenship, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Waters, who was born in Canada but moved to Australia when she was just 11 months old, claims she was unaware she had duel citzenship. According to Waters, her parents, who are Australian but were briefly working in Canada shortly after she was born, told her that she had until age 21 to actively seek Canadian citizenship. Although Waters says she chose not to do this, she is still considered a Canadian citizen because of a specific law.
“I was devastated to learn that because of 70-year-old Canadian laws I had been a dual citizen from birth, and that Canadian law changed a week after I was born and required me to have actively renounced Canadian citizenship,” Waters said in a statement. “It is with a heavy heart that I am forced to resign as senator for Queensland and co-deputy leader of the Australian Greens, effective today.”
“I apologize wholeheartedly to all those who have supported me and helped me to become a representative for the wonderful people of Queensland over the last six years,” she added.
Waters plans to renounce her Canadian citizenship, and will cede her seat to another Green Party member. After she does so, Waters, who was first elected in 2010, could technically run for office again — though it’s unclear how this incident will impact her reputation.
Waters made history when she became the first woman to breastfeed in Australia’s parliament in May. She made news again when she became the first woman in Australian parliament to give a speech while breastfeeding.