Snap election likely as Joyce and his mates disqualified from parliament

Geneva Matthews
October 28, 2017

Australia's prime minister has postponed a trip to Israel in order to deal with a constitutional crisis after the High Court ruled five members of parliament - including the deputy prime minister - should never have been elected because they're dual citizens.

The High Court of Australia found Joyce's election untenable given his New Zealand citizenship.

"In my gut I thought this is the way it was going to go", Joyce told reporters.

The decision deals a blow to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's Liberal-National coalition, which has a one-seat majority in the lower house.

"I had no reason to believe that, you know, I was a citizen of any other country than Australia".

But the court found Mr. Joyce was a New Zealander by descent at the time of his nomination previous year.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said he is confident that the seven judges will not take a literal interpretation of a 116-year- old section of the constitution that bans "a subject or citizen of a foreign power" from sitting in Parliament.

The disqualified senators will be replaced by members of their own party without an election, meaning the balance of power will only be affected by Mr. Joyce's situation.

Speaking Friday, Turnbull said it was "clearly not the outcome we were hoping for" but denied that his government faces any instability in the absence of Joyce.

Prior to becoming embroiled in it himself, Joyce had earlier poked fun at those who hadn't been aware of what countries they might be citizens of.

"I respect the verdict of the court", Mr Joyce said in a statement following the ruling.

Australia's constitution states that members of parliament can not be "a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or citizen of a foreign power".

The government argues that those two senators from minor parties failed to take reasonable steps to ensure they were not dual nationals.

Other reports by VideoGamingPros

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