Australia dual citizenship saga: Politicians to learn fate

Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby JoyceImage copyright EPA
Image caption Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce is among seven politicians under scrutiny

Australia’s deputy prime minister and six other politicians will soon learn if they were wrongly elected because they held dual citizenship.

The High Court of Australia is due to hand down the verdict at 14:15 local time (03:15 GMT) on Friday.

The decision will clarify the definition of rules prohibiting dual citizens from standing for office.

If Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce is ruled ineligible, it could threaten the government’s one-seat majority.

In that event, Mr Joyce, who renounced New Zealand citizenship in August, has pledged to re-contest his lower house seat in a probable by-election.

The other six politicians – Fiona Nash, Matt Canavan, Malcolm Roberts, Nick Xenophon, Larissa Waters and Scott Ludlam – were elected to the Senate.

Ms Waters and Mr Ludlam have already resigned over the saga, while Mr Xenophon has said he will quit regardless of the verdict to pursue other ambitions.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull would face a tougher task of passing legislation if he lost his 76-seat majority in the 150-member House of Representatives.

The dual citizenship saga has dominated Australian politics since July, prompting dozens of MPs to publicly clarify their status.

Dual citizen MPs Second citizenship
Barnaby Joyce, government New Zealand
Fiona Nash, government UK
Matt Canavan, government Italy
Malcolm Roberts, One Nation UK
Nick Xenophon, Nick Xenophon Team UK
Larissa Waters, Greens Canada
Scott Ludlam, Greens New Zealand

Leave a Response