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Barnaby Joyce latest MP to be caught up in dual-citizenship bungle

Barnaby Joyce latest MP to be caught up in dual-citizenship bungle

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has referred himself to the High Court after receiving advice that he might actually be a New Zealand citizen, and therefore ineligible to serve in parliament.

Under the Australian constitution, anyone with dual citizenship can not stand for federal election.

Barnaby Joyce looks set to the latest MP to caught out over his citizenship, with reports emerging that he's asked the High Court for advice on whether he's a New Zealand citizen.

Mr Joyce said the federal government, based on legal advice from the Solicitor-General, is of the firm view he is not in breach of section 44 of the constitution - which bars dual citizens from sitting in parliament.

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The prime minister has asked that Mr Joyce remain deputy prime minister and continue his ministerial duties.

Last Thursday afternoon the New Zealand High Commission contacted me to advise that on the basis of preliminary advice from the Dept of Internal Affairs, which received inquiries from the New Zealand Labour Party, they considered that I may be a citizen by decent of New Zealand.

Mr Joyce made the admission at the beginning of Parliament on Monday morning.

Mr Joyce is the fifth member of parliament to be embroiled in the drama over dual citizenship.

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Surprise dual nationalities have already claimed the scalps of Greens' senators Larissa Waters and Scott Ludlam, who quit when their citizenships of Canada and NZ respectively came to light.

"Neither I, nor my parents, have had any reason to believe that I may be a citizen of any other country".

After Joyce's statement to parliament, Malcolm Turnbull wrote to the Labor leader Bill Shorten on Monday inquiring whether or not he wanted to refer any cases of Labor MPs to the high court on the basis it would be desirable that all cases are heard at the same time. My father, who was born in New Zealand, came to Australia in 1947 as a British subject.

Several senators have resigned or are facing scrutiny over their citizenship status.

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If so, Mr Turnbull suggested they, too, be referred to the High Court, so there were no more surprises.