Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has revealed that he may be a citizen of New Zealand – and unable to serve in Parliament – after being informed of the potential issue by the New Zealand High Commission.
Joyce’s father, James, emigrated from New Zealand in 1947. While Joyce claims he’s always been an Australian citizen and that neither of his parents applied for him to have dual citizenship, the NZ High Commission told him he may be a citizen via descent.
Speaking in the House of Representatives this morning, Joyce said he and the government had received legal assurances he is not a dual citizen, and not in violation of Section 44 of the Australian Constitution.
Nonetheless, he’s referred the issue to the High Court.
Notably, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull hasn’t asked Joyce to stand down from his role while the High Court investigates. Joyce says that determination was based on the strength of the government’s legal advice on the issue.
Last month, MP Matt Canavan resigned from cabinet following suspicion he was a dual Italian-Australian citizen.
We’ll keep you posted on this one.