Australian Court Disqualifies Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce Over Citizenship

Australia's High Court on Friday ruled that Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce is ineligible to sit in parliament due to dual citizenship. The decision deals a blow to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull Liberal-National coalition, which has a one-seat majority in the lower house.

The loss of the seat will force Turnbull to reach out to one of three independent lawmakers to maintain a ruling majority. The court ordered a by-election for Joyce's seat. He will be able to contend in the by-election.  Australia's constitution states that members of parliament cannot be "a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or citizen of a foreign power."

The court also ruled on the status of six other lawmakers in the Senate. Four of them were also disqualified while two others were allowed to keep their seats. The ineligible senators’ seats will be given to another member of their parties. The lawmakers recognized that they were dual nationals at the time of the election. The government argued that five of lawmakers should still be eligible, including Joyce, because they were unaware of dual citizenship at the time of the election.


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