Scott Ludlam is a dual New Zealand and Australian citizen. He is therefore ineligible to be elected to the Australian Parliament. But since July 2008 he has been collecting a substantial salary and employing four staff and enjoying two suites of offices paid by the Australian taxpayer.
He and Rod Culleton have at least one thing in common. They have never been senators. If you are ineligible to be a senator, by definition you cannot have been a senator. While Bob Day was ruled ineligible for the 2016 election he was eligible when he took office as a senator on 1 July 2014 and so can correctly be described as a former senator.
But Scott Ludlam and Rod Culleton have no right to be called former senators.
In most areas of society a person who has collected benefits by deception or ignorance will be forced to repay those benefits plus a penalty. But it seems that Ludlam expects to be relieved of that responsibility.
No. A thousand times no.
He should be pursued by the Commonwealth for those illegally paid moneys. If that bankrupts him, so be it. He will then be an undischarged bankrupt and ineligible for being appointed as a senator.
The worst thing would be for him to now renounce his NZ citizenship, be forgiven the debt he owes the Commonwealth, and then be slotted into the senate by the Greens.
How someone can be in the senate for ten years and not realise that they have dual citizenship is beyond me. It is common knowledge and clearly in the Constitution that a person cannot be a dual citizen and be elected to parliament.
That lack of judgement (common among the Greens admittedly) should block Ludlam from any attempt to come back to Canberra. The Government can ensure this by not relieving him of his responsibility to repay the salaries etc.