Barnaby Joyce a Kiwi?

14 August, 2017, 04:43 | Author: Valerie Burke
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Barnaby Joyce has referred himself to the high court in order to clarify whether or not he is a dual citizen of New Zealand.

Australian law prohibits lawmakers from holding citizenship of a "foreign power" including fellow Commonwealth states, even on a dual-nationality basis.

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull said the government was "satisfied" with its legal advice that the court will not disqualify Mr Joyce.

Mr Joyce said the federal government, based on legal advice from the Solicitor-General, is of the firm view he is not in breach of section 44 of the constitution - which bars dual citizens from sitting in parliament.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has asked the deputy PM not to stand aside from his ministerial or leadership responsibilities after advice from the Solicitor General that the information would not disqualify him from serving as the Member for New England.

"Neither I, nor my parents, have had any reason to believe that I may be a citizen of any other country".

"I have always been an Australian citizen", he said.

He said he was shocked to learn he could be a citizen of New Zealand by descent via his father.

Mr Joyce's father was born in New Zealand.

"I was born in Australia in 1967 to an Australian mother and I think I'm fifth generation. The New Zealand government has no register recognising me as a New Zealand citizen".

Mr Joyce made the admission at the beginning of Parliament on Monday morning.

According to the NZ government passport website: "If you were born overseas and at least 1 of your parents is a New Zealand citizen by birth or grant, you are an NZ citizen by descent".

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".

Given the strength of this advice, he said would continue as a minister, National leader and Deputy Prime Minister until his fate was known.

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

There will be a directions hearing on the Gillespie case in August, with substantive hearings expected before the end of the year.

Nonetheless, he's referred the issue to the High Court.

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