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Kenyan-born Lucy Gichuhi claims Australian senate seat

Family First will regain its Senate seat after Kenyan-born Lucy Gichuhi won a special count of the South Australian ballot papers.

While she has not officially been named as ex-senator Bob Day’s replacement, the matter will return to the High Court next week for the declaration.

Sources familiar with today’s process said the Australian Electoral Commission had advised Ms Gichuhi had been elected to fill the vacancy left by Mr Day, whose election was deemed unconstitutional.

She is due to be sworn-in on May 9, when parliament resumes after its autumn break.

The Adelaide-based lawyer, who was Family First’s No 2 South Australian candidate at the July election, received Mr Day’s votes in the recount, all but confirming her the upper house seat and $200,000-a-year job.

While questions have been raised about her eligibility to be elected after she refused to clarify when she renounced her Kenyan citizenship, the country’s High commission has said she “never applied for dual citizenship”.

Under the Constitution, a person with dual citizenship cannot be elected.

Ms Gichuhi migrated to Australia with her family in 1999 and became involved with Family First soon after it began in 2001.

After failing to secure a seat at the election, she had “moved on” and volunteered as a family lawyer with the Women’s Legal Service for the past several months.

Family First received 24,817 votes above the line votes at the election while Mr Day received 5495 votes below the line. Ms Gichuhi claimed just 152.

www.theaustralian.com

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