Frydenberg looking pensive
Josh Frydenberg, Australia's minister of resources and energy, looks on during the International Conference & Exhibition on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in Perth, Australia, on Wednesday, April 13, 2016. Frydenberg said he is very upbeat about the future for gas, citing the growing world population as a key driver for the gas market. Photographer: Aaron Bunch/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Labor backs Frydenberg, says citizenship speculation getting ‘disturbing’

Labor and Liberal MPs have warned that the speculation about politicians’ citizenship is reaching disturbing levels.

Cabinet minister Josh Frydenberg says he cleared up a Hungarian citizenship query ‘months ago’, saying his Jewish family were stateless when they arrived from Hungary after World War II.

The federal energy minister is the latest senior government figure facing questions over his citizenship, after Senate President Stephen Parry this week bowed out of parliament over his British links.

“My mother came to Australia from war-torn Europe after the Holocaust, post war, and was deemed to be a stateless person,” Mr Frydenberg said in a press conference in Melbourne on Friday.

“It is completely absurd to think that retrospectively, and against her will, she could be made to be a Hungarian citizen and that would flow through to me without any positive act either by her or by me.”

The Australian newspaper raised questions about his citizenship on Friday morning and reported there was “probably a 50 per cent likelihood” he had Hungarian citizenship.

Hungary has rules that automatically confer citizenship by descent, following a bid to address the plight of stateless Jews who fled the Holocaust.

Read the report and watch the news clip from SBS TV.