Australian constitution could be an ass

The third Australian MP to fall foul of their constitution on citizenship is deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, although he is contesting it in court without resigning like the other two.

RNZ: NZ govt says Australia’s Joyce is NZ citizen

New Zealand Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne has confirmed Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce is considered a New Zealand citizen.

Mr Joyce is the latest politician to be caught in a dual citizenship controversy across the Tasman.

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

Under the Australian constitution, anyone with dual citizenship cannot stand for federal election.Mr Dunne said Mr Joyce’s father was a New Zealand citizen and he passed citizenship on to his son.

His father emigrated to New Zealand and became a citizen here, then moved to Australia and had a child (Barnaby) with an Australian woman. That automatically makes Barnaby a New Zealand citizen. There must be a lot of dual citizens in Australia.

“It’s automatically passed on, I don’t know whether he (Mr Joyce) knew or not,” Mr Dunne said.

“He says he didn’t know, he says he was under the belief his father had renounced the New Zealand citizenship.

“But the fact is it is all irrelevant – if he was eligible to receive the citizenship at the time, under our legislation he does, regardless of his subsequent circumstances,” Mr Dunne said.

Mr Joyce said this afternoon he was asking the High Court to rule on his citizenship status and whether he was eligible to be in Parliament, the ABC reported.

He said legal advice suggested he has not breached the constitution, but the court should consider the matter.

If Joyce is ruled ineligible to be an Australian elected representative then their constitution is an ass.

Section 44 of the Australian Constitution lists the grounds for disqualification on who may become a candidate for election to the Parliament of Australia.

44. Any person who –

(i.) Is under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or citizen of a foreign power: or
(ii.) Is attainted of treason, or has been convicted and is under sentence, or subject to be sentenced, for any offence punishable under the law of the Commonwealth or of a State by imprisonment for one year or longer: or
(iii.) Is an undischarged bankrupt or insolvent: or
(iv.) Holds any office of profit under the Crown, or any pension payable during the pleasure of the Crown out of any of the revenues of the Commonwealth: or
(v.) Has any direct or indirect pecuniary interest in any agreement with the Public Service of the Commonwealth otherwise than as a member and in common with the other members of an incorporated company consisting of more than twenty-five persons:

shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.

But sub-section iv. does not apply to the office of any of the Queen’s Ministers of State for the Commonwealth, or of any of the Queen’s Ministers for a State, or to the receipt of pay, half pay, or a pension, by any person as an officer or member of the Queen’s navy or army, or to the receipt of pay as an officer or member of the naval or military forces of the Commonwealth by any person whose services are not wholly employed by the Commonwealth.

Almost every part of section 44 has proved difficult to interpret and apply. Its replacement or revision has been frequently considered, particularly by a Constitutional Commission in 1988 and by a parliamentary committee in 1997, but their proposals have not been pursued.

(i) Allegiance to a foreign power

Subsection 44(i) has generally been interpreted by the High Court of Australia as meaning that persons with dual citizenship are not permitted to stand for election and that a person must take “reasonable steps” to renounce their citizenship of the other country. Its interpretation has been difficult. There is the preliminary awkwardness that the Constitution itself does not require a member of the Parliament to be an Australian Citizen, although Constitution s 42 does require members to swear an oath or affirmation of allegiance to the monarch; however, Australian citizenship has been made a statutory condition of eligibility for election.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_44_of_the_Constitution_of_Australia

So this will go to court for a decision to see if Joyce can remain.

 

1 Comment

  1. Patzcuaro

     /  August 15, 2017

    Sounds like the Aussies are having a bit of fun with Baaa-rnaby Joyce ( any relation to Steven Joyce). Apparently he went on TV a couple of weeks ago to emphatically deny any form of dual citizenship. I imagine all the Australian MPs will be hastily checking their closets for any skeletons.

    Ex Green MP Scott Ludlam tweeted “Kia Ora Barnaby Joyce”