Court ruling a blip for Wilson

JOSH WILSON is likely to waltz back in as Fremantle’s federal MP, with the Liberals unlikely to run a candidate in the electorate’s by-election says political lecturer Martin Drum.

Earlier this week Mr Wilson was forced to resign after a High Court ruling knocked Labor senator Katy Gallagher out because she’d not renounced her British citizenship in time before the last election.

He’d been in the same boat, filling out the necessary paperwork but foiled by the slow pace of UK bureaucracy which put him in conflict with the constitution.

• Josh Wilson giving his maiden speech in Federal Parliament. File photo

“The High Court’s decision in the case of Katy Gallagher has changed the way the law is understood and interpreted in relation to eligibility under s.44 of the constitution,” Mr Wilson said when announcing his resignation.

“Until today’s decision the ‘reasonable steps’ test had been accepted for more than 25 years,” he said, noting it was the advice he’d followed from his candidate’s handbook.

But within hours he’d been re-endorsed to stand in the by-election by the ALP national executive.

That makes the by-election a virtual lay down misere, says Notre Dame’s Dr Drum.

“By-elections don’t generally favour the government, and on this occasion it’s the incumbent running again, which will give him a bit of an advantage, particularly as there was no scandal involved.”

There’s speculation the by-election could be held as soon as late June.

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