Twitter users are mocking the Australian Deputy PM after it was revealed he is a dual citizen
A string of Australian politicians have been rushing to check their citizenship status in recent weeks, as a constitutional rule which forbids dual nationality threatens their eligibility.
Section 44 of the nation’s constitution prohibits dual citizens from standing for election in the House of Representatives or the Senate.
Yet shockingly, in the midst of the fiasco stands Barnaby Joyce, the Deputy Prime Minister, who has been confirmed as a New Zealand citizen.
Some Twitter users wasted no time in mocking Joyce’s oversight.
Former Green MP Scott Ludlam, who stood down after it was revealed he was born in New Zealand, chimed in with a friendly greeting.
Twitter user Daniel Carosome pointed to Australia’s ban on same-sex marriage.
Joyce told Parliament of his shock at finding out about his Kiwi citizenship, after he was contacted by the New Zealand High Commission. His nationality was confirmed by New Zealand PM Bill English on Monday.
Although he was born in Australia, it is believed his father was New Zealand-born. He is now taking his case to the High Court but remains in his post following legal counsel – a move which has been criticised by some.
The constitution states that anyone who is “under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power … shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives”.
The 116-year-old rule is no joke: three MPs have been forced out of their jobs, including Green Party MP Larissa Waters, along with Ludlam, and Joyce’s colleague Matt Canavan, who holds Italian and Australian citizenship.
Waters has since renounced her Canadian citizenship.
Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull posted proof last month that he had renounced his British citizenship.
But the future of the Australian government hangs in the balance as its majority of one is threatened by Joyce’s potential resignation.
Some 28.5% of Australian residents (6.9 million people) were born overseas, including 25 federal MPs, according to last year’s figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.