POLITICS

The High Court Rules Barnaby Joyce's Election Was Invalid, Xenophon and Canavan Safe

Roberts, Ludlam, Waters and Nash also gone.

27/10/2017 1:07 PM AEDT | Updated 27/10/2017 2:55 PM AEDT
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CANBERRA -- The Federal Government has lost its majority and Australia is looking for a new Deputy Prime Minister after Barnaby Joyce's election was ruled invalid by the High Court on Friday.

Joyce was ineligible for Parliament under section 44 of the Constitution, which bars dual citizens from holding office. Joyce had New Zealand dual citizenship at the time of the 2016 election.

The High Court on Friday also struck out four other MPs over dual citizenship -- Fiona Nash, Malcolm Roberts, Larissa Waters and Scott Ludlam. Nick Xenophon and Matt Canavan are safe.

Here's what happens now.

Barnaby Joyce

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Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce

Joyce's problem: The father of Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce was born in New Zealand. Joyce was born in Australia and never applied for NZ citizenship. NZ has claimed him as a citizen, but his eligibility is for the High Court to decide. Ineligibility would put the Turnbull government's slim majority at risk, although Independent MP Cathy McGowan has stated she would continue to support the government on supply and confidence.

Verdict: INELIGIBLE

What happens now: He will likely face a by-election in the northern NSW seat of New England. Former Independent Tony Windsor is already waiting to re-contest if there's a by-election. The earliest the poll can be held is December 2.

Larissa Waters

Alex Ellinghausen/Fairfax
Former Greens Senator Larissa Waters

Waters problem: The former Greens senator was born in Canada and moved to Australia as an infant. Unknown to her, Canadian law had changed a week after she was born and required her to have actively renounced Canadian citizenship.

She is not contesting her right to sit in parliament.

Verdict: INELIGIBLE

What happens now: She's already resigned from the Senate. Waters will be replaced by special count of last year's Senate ballots. And her most likely replacement is a serious blast from the political past with the number two on the 2016 Greens QLD senate ticket being the former leader of the Australian Democrats, Andrew Bartlett.

Fiona Nash

Alex Ellinghausen/Fairfax
Senator Fiona Nash

Nash's problem: Deputy Nationals Leader Fiona Nash was born in Sydney but had a Scottish-born father. She said she believed she had to apply for citizenship of another country, but a caseworker at the UK Home Office had advised Nash they were of the first flush view that she was a British citizen by descent.

Verdict: INELIGIBLE

What happens now: She would be replaced by a special count of last year's Senate ballots. The Liberal and Nationals had a joint state ticket, so Nash's most likely replacement would NSW Liberal, and slush fund whistleblower, Hollie Hughes.

Malcolm Roberts

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One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts

The problem for Roberts: Born in India to a Welsh father and an Australian mother. The High Court has already ruled Senator Roberts was a British citizen at the time of the July 2016 election. His lawyer has argued the case against him and his possible breach of the Constitution is "un-Australian" and stated he was "entitled to put out of his mind that he was a British citizen". It was also found the One Nation senator attempted to check and renounce his citizenship using email addresses which were shut down more than half a decade earlier.

Verdict: INELIGIBLE

What happens now: He will be replaced by a special count of last year's Senate ballots. The most likely replacement for Roberts would be the next candidate on the Queensland One Nation Senate ticket, Fraser Anning. He and his wife were facing bankruptcy action in the Federal Court, but this legal action has now been withdrawn.

Scott Ludlam

Fairfax
Former Greens Senator Scott Ludlam

Ludlam's problem: The former Greens senator was born in New Zealand and came to Australia when he was three years old, but never renounced his dual NZ citizenship in what he admitted was a "ridiculous oversight".

He is not contesting his right to sit in parliament.

Verdict: INELIGIBLE

What happens now: He has already resigned from the Senate. Ludlam will be replaced by special count of last year's Senate ballots. Jordon Steele-John, 22, is next in line for the position because he was third on the Greens Senate ticket at last year's election.

Nick Xenophon

Andrew Meares/Fairfax
Senator Nick Xenophon

Xenophon's problem: The South Australian is the son of a Cyprian father and Greek mother, but is a dual Australian-British citizen by descent, as a result of his father emigrating to Australia from a British territory.

Verdict: ELIGIBLE

What happens now: Xenophon has already flagged his intention to quit federal politics to run in the South Australian state election next March.

Matt Canavan

Alex Ellinghausen/Fairfax
Matt Canavan

Canavan's problem: The former resources minister stepped down from Cabinet role, but stayed in the Senate after discovering he was a dual Italian citizen by descent. He originally blamed a 2006 citizenship application by his mother, but later conceded he has been an Italian citizen since he was two.

Verdict: ELIGIBLE

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