February 21, 2018

Australian commentators condemn Julie Bishop for 'attacking' relationship with New Zealand

19 August 2017, 02:34 | Christie Tate

SOAP BOX: MP citizenship questions no shock

The PM shouldn't be too confident Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce will be cleared by the High Court an expert says

That tension spilled into politics on Tuesday, when Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop accused New Zealand's opposition Labour Party of conspiring to undermine her government, a claim New Zealand lawmakers said was "false" and "utter nonsense".

Mr Katter said his support hinged on the government backing his call for a banking Royal Commission and a probe into the need for bio-fuels such as Ethanol.

"But I think the relationship is in good shape and over the years, governments of all shades have actually learnt to work together".

Julia Gillard was forced to seek an alliance with crossbenchers in 2010 when Labor won only 72 seats after she ousted Kevin Rudd as Labor leader.

"For the Turnbull Government to then turn this into a diplomatic incident to try to distract attention from the failings of the Deputy Prime Minister is both reckless and damaging".

The Labor opposition has argued that this is due to the one-seat majority the Turnbull government has in the House of Representatives, while the government claims to have advice from the solicitor-general suggesting that Joyce is in the clear.

Meanwhile Mr Joyce told Parliament that he had chose to refer himself to the High Court for clarification but would not resign from cabinet and would remain as the member for New England.

Joyce says he's now renounced his New Zealand citizenship, and he will provide proof to Parliament.

In Mr Joyce's case, this applies to his father.

The prime minister told a coalition joint partyroom meeting in Canberra on Tuesday it wasn't surprising given Mr Shorten's record of "sneakiness, dishonesty and disloyalty".

In July, two senators in the Australian Greens stepped down from their positions after discovering they were a New Zealand and a Canadian citizen respectively.

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People have also been quick to dredge up Barnaby's, well, actually very recent comments about the Greens' dual citizenship scandal.

When it emerged on Monday that Mr Joyce might be a citizen, the initial reaction among New Zealand's politicians was mirth.

Ardern said that in hindsight, had Hipkins realised the context, he would not have asked the questions.

Citizenship take-up by migrants from these countries hits a ceiling of around three in four - even if arrivals are tracked back to the first half of the twentieth century.

A bid by the government to censure the Labor frontbencher was defeated in the Senate Wednesday morning.

Their lack of enthusiasm may be down to the fact Australian MPs are required to have citizenship only to Australia.

The government argues Mr Joyce's situation is different from Mr Canavan's because in that instance the senator's mother made an active application for her son to become an Italian citizen.

It will now be up to the High Court to decide whether Mr Joyce, in holding dual citizenship, has breached Section 44 of the constitution and is eligible to sit in Parliament.

He conceded the ongoing saga was "getting ridiculous".

"Needless to say, I was shocked to receive this information", Joyce told parliament about the news he may be a dual citizen.

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