Australia Deputy PM loses seat over citizenship

Australia Deputy PM loses seat over citizenship

The Turnbull government has been plunged into turmoil and will head to a snap by-election after the High Court ruled Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and four other MPs caught in the dual citizenship saga were disqualified from federal parliament.

Mr Joyce says he will nominate in his New England seat, having renounced his NZ citizenship.

"I'm not going to cry in my beer and I'm going to get back to work".

The High Court has ruled Joyce ineligible for parliament because he has New Zealand citizenship.

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Richard Di Natale, leader of the minor Greens party, praised the honesty and integrity of his former deputies Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters, who resigned in July after discovering they were New Zealand and Canadian citizens respectively.

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

Turnbull confirmed that a by-election would be held in Joyce's seat on December 2. He is expected to win.

The lawmakers recognized that they were dual nationals at the time of the election. Unlike in the house, the ineligible senators' seats will be given to another member of their parties, leaving balance of power in the Senate unchanged.

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In Joyce's case, his father was a New Zealander, which according to a New Zealand government website, means he is "a New Zealand citizen by descent".

Previously only two lawmakers had ever been caught out by the foreign citizen ban, although other dual citizens have nearly certainly served in the Parliament undetected.

The court ordered a by-election for Joyce's seat.

The two senators allowed to stay in parliament were Matt Canavan, who the court heard might have inherited Italian citizenship from his Australian-born mother through Italian grandparents; and Nick Xenophon, who was born to Cypriot and Greek parents and had checked with both embassies to ensure he wasn't a citizen of those countries.

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