Australian court disqualifies Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce over citizenship

Posted October 28, 2017

In breaking news this Friday afternoon, reports have come in stating that Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has been disqualified from Parliament following the ruling of the High Court.

Mr Joyce will now have to fight a byelection to regain his seat.

"While I know that Barnaby will be disappointed with the outcome of the court case, he's been let out of the stalls and he's ready and raring to go".

If the court rules that he was illegally elected in July past year due to New Zealand citizenship he unknowingly inherited from his father, the ruling coalition could lose its single-seat majority in the House of Representatives, where governments are formed.

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He said he had no reason to believe he was a citizen of any other country.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will assume the Agriculture portfolio in Mr Joyce's absence.

The court also ruled on the status of six other lawmakers in the Senate.

Fellow politicians Scott Ludlam, Larissa Waters, Malcolm Roberts and Fiona Nash's elections to parliament have also been deemed invalid. He later found he was British because his father left Cyprus while it was a British colony.

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The disqualified senators will be replaced by members of their own party without an election, meaning the balance of power will only be affected by Mr. Joyce's situation.

He says he respects the decision made by the High Court.

The Australian Constitution took effect in 1901 and only two lawmakers before now had ever been caught by the ban on dual nationals.

Previously only two lawmakers had ever been caught out by the foreign citizen ban, although other dual citizens have nearly certainly served in the Parliament undetected.

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The seven judges rejected the government's argument that five of the lawmakers, including three government lawmakers, should be exempt from the ban because they had not voluntarily acquired or retained citizenship of another country.