Aussie DPM drops NZ citizenship but his seat still uncertain

16 August, 2017, 15:45 | Author: Ruben Patrick
  • Wouldn't you like to enjoy a Bledisloe Cup win Barnaby Joyce

Bishop said Australia's opposition Labor Party had used their New Zealand counterparts to raise questions about Joyce in the New Zealand parliament.

According to the Australian Constitution Section 44, one is disqualified from election to the Parliament of Australia if one holds a dual or plural citizenship.

The court listing came as the row over Mr Joyce's citizenship threatened not only the Turnbull government but relations with New Zealand.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull seconded the accusation of conspiracy, saying Labor Opposition Leader Bill Shorten was attempting to "steal government by entering into a conspiracy with a foreign power".

Asked on ABC radio this morning why Labor would not just release the documents, Mr Burke said the party was confident its preselection processes had ruled out any possible chance the MPs could be dual citizens. It had everything: celebrities, dogs, Australians, opportunistic politicians, the threat of animal slaughter, Johnny Depp being forced to look honest and a fun hashtag: #WarOnTerrier.

"From my perspective, we've made it clear it shouldn't have happened but ultimately it was questions raised by the media that caused this situation, rather than questions from us", Ms Arden said.

Hipkins said it was his decision to lodge the questions as part of a broader interest in the treatment of New Zealanders living in Australia, and he did not want to affect Australian politics.

New Zealand officials said queries from Australian journalists prompted last week's discovery about Joyce's status.

New Zealand-born actor Russell Crowe gets ready to spin it wide
GETTY IMAGES New Zealand-born actor Russell Crowe gets ready to spin it wide

The Turnbull government is threatening to refer a group of Labor MPs to the High Court if they refuse to provide evidence they were validly elected with only Australian citizenship. So if Australia's supreme court rules against him, Joyce will be deemed ineligible to be a senator and spark a lot of potential havoc in the government.

Last Monday, he put a "hypothetical scenario" on citizenship to the New Zealand High Commission in Canberra, which said it passed it to Internal Affairs.

That didn't stop Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop from wading into the row, telling Australian media she would find it "very hard to build trust with those involved in allegations created to undermine the Government of Australia".

Julie Bishop accused the ALP of colluding with a foreign political party to damage the government, which NZ's Labour leader Jacinda Arden said was false and "highly regrettable".

"I challenge anyone in this place to say they would not have done the same", he told parliament.

There is also no small irony two of those in senior positions hold dual New Zealand citizenship.

Attorney-General George Brandis told ABC the government's legal advice relied on the assumption that Section 44 of the Constitution did not apply to someone who had no knowledge or reason to believe that they had a dual citizenship.

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