Deputy PM may be a citizen of NZ

Patrice Gainsbourg
Agosto 14, 2017

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has asked the High Court to rule on his eligibility to sit in the Parliament after it was revealed he may be a citizen of New Zealand.

Mr Joyce said he was informed on Thursday night last week by the New Zealand High Commissioner Chris Seed that he was considered a New Zealand citizen by descent.

He would remain Deputy Prime Minister.

'However, to provide clarification to this very important area of the law, for this and future parliaments, I have asked the government to refer the matter to the High Court, ' he said.

He told parliament that he had legal advice saying he had not breached the constitution.

Needless to say, I was shocked to receive this information.

If he is found to be ineligible, the Turnbull Government - which holds a one-seat majority in the lower house - would be forced into a by-election.

The second most senior politician in Australia is the latest to be caught up in the parliamentary citizenship scandal which has claimed the scalps of several senators and possibly several more.

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Mr Joyce's father was born in New Zealand.

Mr Joyce's father was never a NZ citizen because NZ and Australian citizenship did not exist in 19747.

"I've always been an Australian citizens, born in Tamworth, just as my mother and my great-grandmother was born there 100 years earlier. Neither I, nor my parents have ever had any reason to believe I may be a citizen of any other country", he told parliament.

The Prime Minister has today written to Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to invite him to "nominate any Labor members of senators whose circumstances may raise questions".

Several senators have resigned or are facing scrutiny over their citizenship status.

On the basis of the Solicitor-General's advice, they're of the firm view that [I] will not be found to be disqualified by the operation of section 44.1 of the constitution of serving as a member for New England.

Joyce has already assumed the portfolio responsibilities of his National party colleague, Matt Canavan, who has already been referred to the high court because of his possible Italian dual citizenship.

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