Government accused of favouritism in Barnaby Joyce dual citizenship debacle

UPDATE Tuesday 15 August 6.45am: The Federal Government is refusing to release advice, suggesting Barnaby Joyce has a strong chance of remaining in parliament.

The Deputy Prime Minister has referred himself to the High Court, after discovering he holds New Zealand citizenship by descent.

Labor argues he should follow Nationals Senator Matt Canavan.


Opposition Leader Bill Shorten told parliament, Mr Joyce needs to stand-down from cabinet.

“Now the government has confirmed the Deputy Prime Minister is a citizen of New Zealand, how can the Prime Minister possibly defend keeping him in the cabinet and let him vote in this house,” Mr Shorten said.

But Attorney-General George Brandis has told parliament, Mr Joyce’s situation is different.

“There are obvious factual and legal differences between the two cases, however in viewing with the fact the matters are in front of the High Court it would not be appropriate to engage in discussion of them,” Mr Brandis said.

If the High Court did disqualify Mr Joyce, the Government would lose its one-seat majority in the House of Representatives and be forced to rely on the support of independent MPs to remain in office until a by-election in Mr Joyce’s electorate of New England could be held.

EARLIER Monday 14 August 10:50am:  He became known worldwide for booting Johnny Depp’s dogs out of the country, but it seems Barnaby Joyce may also need to go into quarantine.

The Deputy Prime Minister has told parliament he may be a citizen of New Zealand.

Mr Joyce was informed of the possible career-ending news by the New Zealand High Commission on Thursday afternoon.

The Nationals leader could be a Kiwi citizen by descent.

He told Parliament on Monday he was shocked to receive that information.

Mr Joyce insists he was born in Australia and had always been an Australian.

Under section 44 of the Australian Constitution, anyone who holds dual citizenship is ineligible to sit in parliament.

There are now five MPs whose futures are in the hands of the High Court: Mr Joyce, Senator Matt Canavan, former Greens Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters and One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts.

PM Malcolm Turnbull has written to Bill Shorten offering the Labor leader the opportunity to nominate caucus members who may have issues with dual citizenship.