Australian deputy PM refers himself to High Court over dual citizenship concerns
CANBERRA, (Xinhua): Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has referred himself to the High Court over fears he could be ineligible to sit in the nation’s parliament.
Barnaby Joyce, leader of the Nationals’ party, on Monday told the lower house of the Australian parliament that he may be a citizen of New Zealand (NZ). “Needless to say, I was shocked about this. I’ve always been an Australian citizen born in Tamworth. Neither my parents nor I have ever applied to register me as a New Zealand citizen, the New Zealand Government has no register recognising me as an New Zealand citizen,” Joyce said on Monday.
“I was born in Australia in 1967 to an Australian mother and I think I’m the fifth generation. My father was born in New Zealand, came to Australia in 1947 as a B
Under New Zealand law, anyone with one parent born in New Zealand (NZ) automatically qualifies for NZ citizenship which has to be activated by that person.
Section 44(i) of the Australian Constitution declared that any person who is a citizen of another country is ineligible to be elected to parliament. Joyce said that Australia’s Solicitor-General had advised he would not be disqualified from sitting in parliament under section 44(i) but he asked the High Court to provide a formal ruling.
He will continue to serve in parliament while the case is before the court. The Deputy PM’s revelation is the latest in a string of dual-citizenship controversies to rock Australian politics after Greens’ Members of Parliament (MP) Larissa Waters and Scott Ludlam resigned after finding they held citizenships in the Canada and NZ respectively.
One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts referred to the High Court over concerns that he could be a citizen of Britain in August while Matt Canavan, a Senator for Joyce’s Nationals’ party, was referred over Italian citizenship concerns.