The High Court could deal a massive blow to Malcolm Turnbull’s one-seat majority government, as it tests whether New Zealand “citizen by descent” Barnaby Joyce can continue to sit in parliament.
The Deputy Prime Minister told parliament on Monday he received advice from the NZ High Commission last Thursday he could be a citizen of that country through his father who emigrated to Australian in 1947.
The Australian Constitution prohibits dual citizens from sitting in parliament.
NZ Prime Minister Bill English said his country’s internal affairs department confirmed Mr Joyce is a New Zealander.
“Unwittingly or not, he is a New Zealand citizen,” Mr English told reporters.
“Then it’s a matter for the Australian system to decide how Australian law applies in his case, and how they deal with the issue.”
Mr Joyce was born in Tamworth in 1967 to an Australian mother and is a fifth generation Australian.
His father was born in NZ and came to Australia in 1947 as a British subject – a year before NZ citizenship was created as a legal concept.
“Neither my parents nor I have ever applied to register me as a New Zealand citizen. The New Zealand government has no register recognising me as a New Zealand citizen,” Mr Joyce said.
— news.com.au (@newscomauHQ) August 14, 2017