Barnaby Joyce refers himself to the High Court over citizenship cloud


The Deputy Prime Minster of Australia, Barbany Joyce revealed on Monday that he could be ineligible to hold office as he may hold New Zealand citizenship.

Last Thursday afternoon the New Zealand High Commission contacted me to advise that on the basis of preliminary advice from the Dept of Internal Affairs, which received inquiries from the New Zealand Labour Party, they considered that I may be a citizen by decent of New Zealand.

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.

"On that basis the government is of the firm view that I would not be found to be disqualified by the operation of Section 44, i, of the Constitution from serving as the Member for New England".

But he said that he was asking the High Court to make a ruling to clarify the situation.

Joyce says that determination was based on the strength of the government's legal advice on the issue. "Neither I, nor my parents have ever had any reason to believe I may be a citizen of any other country", he told parliament. "I've always been an Australian citizen born in Tamworth".

Australian Greens co-deputy leader Scott Ludlam resigned after it emerged he holds dual citizenship of Australia and New Zealand, and Larissa Waters because she has dual citizenship with Canada.

While his mother was Australian, his father was born in New Zealand and came to Australia in 1947 as a British subject.

Mr Turnbull has written to opposition leader Bill Shorten, offering Labor the "opportunity" to refer any of its own MPs or senators.

He blamed his mother for applying on his behalf without telling him, was staying in parliament while the High Court investigated.

"Neither my parents nor I have ever applied to register me as a NZ citizen", he said.

The conservative government of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has a one-seat majority in the House of Representatives.

The court is considering whether Matt Canavan, who stepped down as from his frontbench post as resources minister but not from the Senate, should be disqualified by his dual Italian citizenship.

One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts also faces the High Court over whether he was still a British citizen when he was elected past year, after party leader Pauline Hanson referred him herself.