Politics

The High Court Has Booted A Bunch Of Federal Politicians Out Of Parliament

Bye bye Barnaby.

After months of dual citizenship drama that kicked off with the resignations of Greens senators Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters and went on to engulf seven federal MPs, including the Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, the High Court has finally made a definitive ruling on the constitutional eligibility of our politicians.

Joyce, along with One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts, Nationals deputy leader Fiona Nash and the Greens’ Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters have been ruled ineligible to serve in federal parliament.

The decision on Joyce, in particular, is a devastating blow for the federal government. Not only is he Deputy PM, as a member of the House of Representatives his expulsion from parliament will trigger a by-election in his seat of New England and potentially jeopardise the government’s tenuous majority. He is due to hold a press conference later this afternoon.

How Did We Get Here?

The saga kicked off back in July when Greens senator and deputy leader Scott Ludlam announced his surprise resignation after discovering he was actually a dual citizen of New Zealand. Under Section 44 of Australia’s constitution individuals holding dual citizenship are ineligible to serve in federal parliament.

Just days after Ludlam’s resignation the Greens’ other deputy leader, Larissa Waters, also announced her resignation after learning she was a dual Canadian citizen. After that, all hell broke loose.

The resignations triggered an avalanche of investigations and tip-offs looking into the citizenship history of various other MPs. A raft of politicians including Joyce, Coalition ministers Fiona Nash and Matt Canavan, One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts and South Australian senator Nick Xenophon were eventually caught up in the citizenship fiasco.

All seven politicians were referred to the High Court, which has been trying to determine each MP’s eligibility for the past few weeks.

Because Waters and Ludlam have already resigned the High Court judgement doesn’t tangibly impact them. Similarly Xenophon had already announced his decision to resign from the Senate and run in the upcoming South Australian state election.

The balance of numbers in the senate won’t be impacted by the High Court decision as each senator forced out will be replaced by a nominee of their respective party.

More to come