Resources Minister Matt Canavan has quit Cabinet after his mother told him he was an Italian citizen last week, but will remain a senator while his eligibility is determined by the High Court.
Former Greens senators Larissa Waters and Scott Ludlam both resigned from the Senate after realising they held dual citizenships.
Are there possibly thousands of Australians who could be dual citizens without knowing it?
In short, yes.
Kim Rubenstein, an expert in citizenship and Professor at the ANU College of Law at the Australian National University, said that would always be the case in a nation of immigrants like Australia where their other citizenships can be passed on to people's children.
According to the 2016 census, 49 per cent of Australians were either born overseas or had at least one parent who was born overseas.
Why would anyone be confused about their citizenship?
Because it's complicated, according to Professor Rubenstein.
There are multiple ways you can get citizenship, and these are the main ones:
citizenship by birth in a country
citizenship by descent
citizenship by migration
"Citizenship is determined by each different nation state according to their own laws," Professor Rubenstein said.
But she says most people would have a sense of their connection to another nation "by virtue of either their parents or grandparents".
How do you go about finding out whether you are a dual citizen?
You need to think of countries that might see you as a citizen and check their laws.
"If you are born in another country you need to investigate if that means you've become a citizen," Professor Rubenstein said.
"If your parents are born in another country or have another citizenship, that might give right to you having it."
In some cases, you could even have citizenship rights as a result of your grandparents.
"And then of course living in another country may give you right to citizenship," Professor Rubenstein said.
How is it possible that a parent can make a decision about their child's citizenship?
For some countries, you need to apply for citizenship yourself; for others, you don't.
In the case of Mr Canavan, he said it was his mother who had registered him for Italian citizenship in 2006.
Professor Rubenstein says this "does show that there is this reality that we've got to be conscious of".
Again, it's not a matter of knowing Australia's laws around this, it's a matter of knowing the laws of the other countries.
Do we need to change Section 44?
Professor Rubenstein says she's been advocating for this for some time.
She says this is necessary because of the "multicultural nature of society", and because we live in a representative democracy.
She also questioned whether renouncing your citizenship "really deals with that notion of being conflicted if there was some form of conflict".
This article was published and provided by the ABC.