Barnaby Joyce dual citizenship saga

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On Monday, New Zealand Prime Minister, Bill English, confirmed that the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia Barnaby Joyce is a citizen of New Zealand.

Unwittingly or not, because his father was born in New Zealand, Mr Joyce is a citizen of New Zealand by descent and this Kiwi citizenship does not have to be activated.

“Last Thursday afternoon the New Zealand High Commission contacted me to advise that on the basis of preliminary advice from their department of internal affairs, which had received inquiries from the New Zealand Labor Party, they considered that I may be a citizen by descent of New Zealand,” Mr Joyce told Parliament on Monday.

“Needless to say, I was shocked to receive this information. I have always been an Australian citizen, born in Tamworth, just as my mother and my great-grandmother (were) born there 100 years earlier.”

“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,” Mr Joyce told Parliament.

The High Court will now decide the fate of Mr Joyce’s political career by ruling on whether he has breached Section 44 of the constitution and would therefore be ineligible to sit in Parliament.

The Greens and Labor Party are calling for Mr Joyce to resign as Deputy Prime Minister until the High Court rules on his case.

“How on earth can this Government have someone in the office of Deputy Prime Minister when they don’t even know if he’s meant to be a Member of Parliament?” asked Labor frontbencher Tony Burke.

After receiving legal advice, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is “very confident” that Mr Joyce won’t be disqualified. In a 1992 ruling, the High Court ruled that just because a country gives an Australian citizenship doesn’t mean that Australia has to recognise it.

Opinion: Less checks to be a parliamentarian than to apply for a Visa

In the latest parliamentary embarrassment, the Australian public is learning that even more members are ineligible due to dual-citizenship issues. It makes one wonder how such significant legislation is overlooked by politicians when running for government. It also calls into questions the diligence of their parties and, of course, those in charge of enforcing the legislation. It seems as though it’s easier to get into Parliament than it is to apply for a passport or Visa.

The same people enforcing our borders, making billion-dollar decisions on behalf of our country and deciding our futures can’t even check their own citizenship status.

These parliamentarians have made a mistake in failing to renounce citizenship. However, the fact that the law itself doesn’t allow dual citizens to sit in Parliament in this great multicultural country seems ridiculous.

According to analysis by the ABC’s Antony Green, if the High Court disqualifies Barnaby Joyce for dual-citizenship by descent, it will mean 40 to 50 per cent of the Australian public would need to renounce dual-citizenship before being eligible to run for Parliament.

This story is still developing. Several MPs born overseas are yet to provide documentation that they, too, don’t hold dual-citizenship.

It seems only logical that, for the greater good of our parliament and to prevent a thinning of the ranks (which already seems extremely thin as it is), parliamentarians who have citizenship without their knowledge can renounce their secondary citizenship and continue serving our country.

What do you think? Is the current dual-citizenship law ridiculous? Should a multi-cultural country like Australia allow dual citizens to sit in Parliament?

Read more at abc.net.au
Read more at news.com.au
Read more at theaustralian.com.au

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227 Comments

Total Comments: 227
  1. 0
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    Absolute rubbish. Barnaby is as Aussie as Russell Crowe and pavlova.

    • 0
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      He knew his father was from nz and he knew the conditions of employment as a federal member and he knows the constitution whether we like it or not we all are legally bound to uphold the law

    • 0
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      So are the others who resigned Strummer!
      Whilst this is a ridiculous issue demonstrating how backward our country is all politicians need to play by the SAME RULES until this issue is fixed.
      It is quite dishonest to say that Cavanaugh and Joyce have no case to answer whilst the Greens MPs who were pushed into resign did, but this is the continuing issue I see in this coalition government which applies different rules to itself than it does to others. Did I hear Turnbull use the word “sloppy” to denigrate the Greens? Yeah…sloppy Malcolm! Not us?

    • 0
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      marls, he was born in Australia. Neither he or his Dad have applied for NZ citizen for him. Under Australian Laws he is Australian.

      Are they sure they don’t want to go back 3 or 4 generations and all countries have the same laws. I would have at least 2 overseas citizenships.

    • 0
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      Strummer,
      Some people are a bit thick, or maybe I should say short as that went totally over their heads

    • 0
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      You have missed the point, Strummer. The issue is that he is a dual citizen, and the High Court needs to decide whether that makes him ineligible to be in Parliament. On the surface, it looks like he is ineligible, but let the court confirm that.

      The Constitution is perfect in this regard – we should have undivided loyalty to this country from parliamentarians. Just because some incompetent people did not check out their citizenship status, as required in their job application, doesn’t mean the rules need to change.

      BTW – most of the ones caught out so far seem to be the “wacko” ones (except I am not sure about Cavanaugh who he is, etc, as we hardly ever heard from him)! The ones who have little regard for details which should be an essential criteria for their roles!

    • 0
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      I fully understand what this debate is about. The issue is however that the government pushed out Bob Day and 2 Greens senators with exactly the same law. Now that 2 of their own are caught out it is ‘different’ and they want the High Court to let them off. This is typical coalition double standards and not new to anyone.
      This glitch needs to be resolved. No question. In the meantime Kavanagh and Joyce need to resign. THAT IS THE LAW! For all, not just everybody else.

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      Hey Strummer. I hope that was said tongue in cheek.. Russell Crowe was born in Wellington New Zealand and kiwis made the first pavlova..lol

    • 0
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      Strummer
      I read Barnaby’ fathet was nz born
      And Russell Crowe comes under the spec cat viza as all ppl from nz that came from a certain date

    • 0
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      Strummer
      I read Barnaby’ fathet was nz born
      And Russell Crowe comes under the spec cat viza as all ppl from nz that came from a certain date

    • 0
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      How dare you compare Barnaby to Russell! I think Russell is a kind intelligent true caring Aussie. Barnaby pretends to be but supports fracking (not on his land?) and is generally disrespectful.

  2. 0
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    Its ridiculous. He’s lived his whole life here as has the other politicians. Stop wasting tax payers money on this rubbish.

    • 0
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      Ever heard of sleepers?

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      Ted wards
      My children are born here and some have never been to my birth country but they are still dual citizens

    • 0
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      Totally agree – this is all getting out of hand.
      Julia Gillard’s parents were both Welsh, so therefore this should mean she was also dual nationality – she became Prime Minister and no shouting was done then.
      So was she also illegally in that position and if so what’about legislation passed when she was in tenure, should that be still allowed…… see how crazy this is getting,
      Barnaby Joyce was born here so is an Aussie through and through.

    • 0
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      Could it be that Wales does not have dual citizenship for those not born there?

    • 0
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      Jackie Welsh comes under UK and therefore does have dual citizenship. Did Julia renounce hers maybe ??

    • 0
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      Interesting question about Julia Gillard but, as I understand it, the ALP have been careful about dual citizenship so I expect she did renounce it, if she actually had it in the first place.
      It is a bit of a minefield and Turnbull didn’t help when he was so scathing of the Greens when their situation came to light so now he is hoist on his own petard.
      There is an elephant in the room with this question of allegiance as that is not confined to citizenship but across beliefs as well. Surely someone elected to represent Australians should owe allegiance to their electorate.
      The fact is that most owe their allegiance to their political party as first priority and that is not democracy. Religious beliefs can also affect allegiances but that is truly a hot topic that no one wants to get into.

    • 0
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      Correct if she had renounced then she was legal.

    • 0
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      There is no such thing as Welsh citizenship. It is UK or British citizenship.

    • 0
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      There the ones wasting tax payers money by not taking proper steps to provide evidence of one nationality. At least Labor have processes in place to establish one nationality prior to preselection.

    • 0
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      Maybe not Troubadour, she may have renounced any duel citizenship’s that she had before entering parliament as that is the rule apparently and anyone who wants to enter political life should check and double check what the requirements are before they do so. I am really surprised that Barnaby did not check this out as my husband was Austrian and our children have duel citizenship and as having 1 or 2 foreign born parents often means the children become citizens of their parent’s country I am surprised Barnaby didn’t think to check this out.

    • 0
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      Julia Gillard did renounce her British Citizenship before entering Parliament. Her official confirmation of renunciation from Britain is on the Internet. What applies to one should apply to all maybe all aspiring Politicians should have to prove publicly their heritage and prove that they have renunciated all other allegiances prior to Elections.

  3. 0
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    Hmm Maybe just like the rubbish being spent on a same sex marriage postal vote.

  4. 0
    0

    It’s these politicians that are wasting taxpayer money they are highly educated and intelligent they knew the conditions of their employment and the constitution is the law regardless of whether you agree or not

    • 0
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      maris….Yes they do waste taxpayer money because they aren’t intelligent. A high education is for those that can afford it.

    • 0
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      A high level of education does not signify a high intelligence. There are many people who have had little education through no fault of their own who are highly intelligent. I think it would prefer these sort of people considering the stupid things that some of our highly educated politicians get up to.

    • 0
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      Phony Tony was Rhodes Scholar? So much said for highly educated. IQ and education gets lost when ideology becomes more important that morals, personal beliefs, and res of the country.

    • 0
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      This thread is brilliant. Thank goodness you have mentioned intelligence because it is sadly lacking in this govt.

  5. 0
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    New rule:- You cannot accept elected or high appointed position within the commonwealth unless your parents were both born here and have a totally clean history.

  6. 0
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    Poor old Baaaaa naby, they should at least piss him off until the High Court gives him the flick, saying he didn’t know is an insult to people’s intelligence, with all of the publicity of the last few months and his denials to reporters over the last month, a quick visit to the NZ passport site says in plain language that if your father is a Kiwi you are automatically a Kiwi regardless of where you are born, many other countries have similar laws, after all if a pig is born in a stable you don’t call it a horse!

  7. 0
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    Typical Liberal double standards.If he had of been Labor there would have been an uproar. This party is going down.

  8. 0
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    The rules are the rules. suggestions to change the Constitution is another matter, one for the future. A referendum may fail anyway!

    For now though, the rules were in place when the various politicians were elected and they should have abided by them.

    • 0
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      I agree, Ted. The Constitution is the law and must be obeyed by all.

      Joyce said that David Gillespie (who owns a shopping centre that contains an Australia Post outlet) took a massive pay cut in order to become a politician (he was a gastroenterologist), and he’s a hard-working good bloke, so he shouldn’t be ruled ineligible and therefore have to resign. When confronted by alleged massive water theft by irrigators on the Murray-Darling system said not to worry: the water’s gone into agriculture so it’s a good thing. In other words, he has no apparent respect for the law of the land when he doesn’t like the outcome. Yet he’s our Deputy Prime Minister! Now he’s saying that despite all the warnings and publicity he didn’t know he had dual citizenship. Yet he ticked the box saying that he wasn’t when a two-minute check on the internet would have told him that he was – surely there’s an offence right there? His refusal to resign is yet another indication that he seems to believe that the law should not apply to him or his interests.

    • 0
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      Didn’t Barnaby also say he had never been to the UK and this just a couple of weeks or months, not sure which, when he had returned from a visit there, said he had forgot or some such thing.

  9. 0
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    Whilst I agree that any politician who was born overseas has an obligation to check their citizenship status, I can’t agree that a politician born in Australia should have to provide any other documentation than an Australian Birth Certificate. This is getting ridiculous. If the letter of the law is to be upheld then any legislation that has had any of the dual citizenship politicians involved should be declared null and void as they were ineligible to participate.

    • 0
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      Savta
      Aust has the same laws if I child is born overseas to one Aussie parent that child is classed as Australian the gvt is cuirenylh giving support to our most dangers terrorist in overseas jail because is wife has a child to him

    • 0
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      maris, if you mean Neil Prakash, currently enjoying Turkey’s penal system, he was born in Melbourne. Please let me know if you mean another terrorist who is classed as “our most dangerous”.

    • 0
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      He made his own jihad – let him lie in it… is there any value to Oz in bringing him ‘home’? Perhaps the Guv could offer him a job training our troops …. after full de-briefing, of course…. then he could pass on tactics and such that might help our troops in future…

  10. 0
    0

    What a load of rubbish! Born in Australia and has never made application to be a citizen of New Zealand! Since when did countries start giving out citizenship to people born elsewhere, that have never applied for it and who undoubtedly they don’t even know exist! Is New Zealand so hard up for citizens it has to gain a population by default? New Zealand should change its law so that only those who actually apply for citizenship under the law of descent are eligible to be called citizens! Almost comical!

    • 0
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      Now we are telling other sovereign countries what they should do because our rules are stuffed.

    • 0
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      You have missedv the point Savta. NZ is far from short of new citizens- it is the OZ constitution that is behind the times. You should understand that laws are supposed to reflect the times in which they operate- not like our CONSTITUTION that was drafted by lawyers in bygone days when little OZ was a big dry land mass somewhere in the South Pacific surrounded by Islands of like kin- but now that document is OUT OF DATE> Compry ???

    • 0
      0

      Oars,
      Get real, by your standards 90% of the world has outdated constitutions, as any country that is more than a hundred years old has had only a few changes to the constitution.
      The constitution does not need to be changed to account for the stupidity of politicians, we just needs better quality politicians.

    • 0
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      Savta it has always been that way. If you have a child born in a foreign country your child is automatically an Australian citizen.
      I think you would see the logic of that right.
      As a new nation of many transient people I am surprised that the Constitution in 1901 was so well defined.

    • 0
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      Not so R0sret, our eldest son was born in Papua when Papua was administered by Australia, but he had to apply for Australian citizenship it was not automatically given to him

    • 0
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      Graeme you have little understanding of Global laws based on your innaine comments. The underlying features of any law of any country is to keep the country safe- from outdated dopes, but particularly to keep up with the times. Of course the laws- that includes the constitution- need to be changed. You and your ignorant comments are wrong.

    • 0
      0

      Rosret, my daughter was born overseas to Australian parents however we had to apply for her citizenship within 30 days of her birth in order for her to receive Australian citizenship
      .

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