Where to next for former senator Scott Ludlam?
SCOTT Ludlam says he will never rule out a return to politics, but for now he is facing an uncertain future because of an "avoidable" mistake.
In an interview with The Sunday Times yesterday, the former WA Greens senator said he only had himself to blame for the sudden end to his political career because he had not renounced his New Zealand citizenship.
Mr Ludlam said he did not know what he would do next but he planned to return to some of his past passions, including writing and art.
"I have no idea, but it is not frightening," he said, adding that he felt for his staffers who were now unemployed.
Mr Ludlam said it was "up to others" to judge his contribution, but he was proud of his achievements. These included the "incredible campaign" against the Roe 8 road project and helping stop a radioactive waste dump in the Northern Territory.
"Even if that was the only thing we did in the last nine years, it would be worthwhile," he said.
The 47-year-old also threw his support behind Perth university student Jordon Steele-John, 22, who has cerebral palsy, taking his spot in the Senate.
"In the immediate future I really feel like it's time for somebody else to have a go," Mr Ludlam said. He wouldn't rule out a return to politics, adding: "Never say never."
Mr Ludlam resigned on Friday after Perth barrister John Cameron obtained evidence he was ineligible for politics as he retained his New Zealand citizenship when he sought pre-selection almost a decade ago.
He left NZ with his family when he was three and in his mid-teens became an Australian citizen. He assumed "that was the end of my New Zealand citizenship". But it wasn't, as Dr Cameron - a barrister with a keen interest in the constitution - discovered when he applied for information from NZ's Department of Internal Affairs.
"At first I was a bit surprised and a bit shocked. To be frank, I didn't think it was real," Mr Ludlam said, adding that he was "not at all" angry with Dr Cameron.
"I feel like he did the due diligence I should have done nine years ago," he said. "There is no point blaming him. He is obviously someone with attention to detail, and he acted in the public interest."
Mr Ludlam said it was a "concern" he may have to pay back the more than $1 million he earned during his parliamentary career. "If that were to happen I would be financially destroyed," he said.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the money matter would be considered by Finance Minister Mathias Cormann. The Sunday Times understands an application for a debt waiver would be granted.
Mr Ludlam said his "heart" was telling him he would renounce his Kiwi citizenship, something which he described as a "remarkable surprise".
"This is home," he said. "Fremantle is home."