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Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.
Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.
Image: Oldahh/YouTube

Australia's deputy prime minister may not be eligible for parliament due to dual citizenship

Barnaby Joyce is the latest politician in Australia to fall victim of the obscure citizenship rule.
Aug 14th 2017, 9:51 AM 22,231 51

AUSTRALIAN DEPUTY PRIME Minister Barnaby Joyce’s political future is in doubt today after it emerged he has dual citizenship.

Australia does not allow dual citizens to sit in parliament.

New Zealand confirmed that his citizenship was automatically granted via his father.

The revelation has major implications for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s Liberal-National coalition government, which won national elections last year with 76 seats in the House of Representatives — a narrow one-seat majority.

Joyce has refused to step aside, instead referring the case to the High Court, saying that the solicitor-general was confident he would not be disqualified.

Several lawmakers have fallen victim to the obscure rule in recent months, leaving parliamentarians scrambling to clarify their ancestral ties.

Dual citizenship

“Needless to say, I was shocked to receive this information,” Joyce told parliament after hearing he may be a dual citizen.

“I’ve always been an Australian citizen born in Tamworth. Neither me or my parents had any reason to believe that I may be a citizen of any other country.”

The dual citizenship crisis kicked off in July when the minor Greens party’s co-deputy leader Scott Ludlam resigned after revealing he had dual Australian-New Zealand citizenship.

The crisis soon claimed other victims, including Canadian-born Greens senator Larissa Waters and Resources Minister Matt Canavan, who left Cabinet after finding his mother signed him up to Italian citizenship in his 20s.

Joyce said he had been contacted by the New Zealand High Commission last week to advise him that he “could be a citizen of New Zealand by descent”.

While Joyce — the leader of the Nationals party — was born in Australia, he told parliament his father was born in neighbouring New Zealand and moved to Australia in 1947.

A spokesman for New Zealand Internal Affairs Minister, Peter Dunne, said there is no doubt about Joyce’s status, stating that “as far as New Zealand law goes, he is a New Zealand citizen under the Citizenship Act”.

© AFP 2017 

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