Well this has been a fun 24 hours.
Slowly boiling human kettle Barnaby Joyce has now told Parliament that he has received “verbal confirmation” from New Zealand that his application to renounce his NZ citizenship has been accepted, and he is now awaiting official documentation to that end.
Yesterday, Joyce became the latest in a string of sitting politicians to be rocked by revelations of dual-citizenship with other countries, which is grounds for immediate disqualification from Federal Parliament, under section 44 of the… y’know… Australian Constitution.
Greens senators Larissa Waters and Scott Ludlam discovered their dual citizenship status with Canada and New Zealand respectively. Both immediately and voluntarily resigned from the senate.
Following this, Liberal senator Matt Canavan discovered he had dual citizenship issues stemming from his mother reportedly registering him as an Italian resident abroad in 2006. He stood down, and announced he is abstaining from voting until the High Court can determine the legitimacy of his election.
Following that, One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts was discovered to be a dual citizen with England at the time of his election, which would render him ineligible to be elected. Roberts asserted he was not, and never has been, a British citizen – despite documents blatantly showing that to be not true – and remains in Parliament, having been referred to the High Court by his own party leader Pauline Hanson.
And then after all this, Barnaby Joyce cops the same issue and turns around 24 hours later and says more or less “nah, we’re all good now actually.”
Joyce himself stated, before all this went down, that “ignorance is no excuse” when it comes to section 44 of the Constitution. ‘Course Malcolm Turnbull today also stated that section 44 “wasn’t meant to be taken literally“…
Turnbull just said section 44 “not meant to be taken literally”. What other bits of the constitution could we find wiggle room on I wonder
— Tom Iggulden (@tomiggulden) August 15, 2017
…even though back when it was merely the Greens involved in the issue, it was a case of “incredible sloppiness” and a question that needed to be addressed via a tick in the box.
Funny how he still felt it an important enough issue to be addressed:”You’ve got to tick the box”! pic.twitter.com/5qskwGFqIZ
— 4💉Helena Lister (@Helena_Sindelar) August 15, 2017
Then again there’s also Attorney-General George Brandis who is now coming out and insisting that Joyce’s ignorance – the kind that Joyce himself stated there was no excuse for – will be the thing that ultimately saves him. And that, get this, Ludlam and Waters exhibited a “catastrophic error of judgment” by quitting Parliament over this thing that, when it wasn’t affecting their party, Liberal party leaders asserted was an open-and-shut case.
The Constitution: Nice to know it’s only inflexible when one of your own isn’t about to be bent over by it, huh.