Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce in the House of Representatives today. Picture: AAPSource:AAP
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce in the House of Representatives today. Picture: AAPSource:AAP

NZ confirms Barnaby is definitely a Kiwi

AUTHORITIES in New Zealand have confirmed that our Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce is indeed a citizen of their country.

The emphatic declaration of the Nationals leader's dual citizenship puts increased pressure on him to step aside, at least while the matter is examined by the High Court.

Mr Joyce made the extraordinary revelation today in Parliament that he learnt last week that he could be a citizen of New Zealand by descent via his father.

Just hours later, New Zealand's Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne has confirmed Mr Joyce is a New Zealand citizen under the Citizenship Act of 1948. Mr Dunne told local reporters that Crown Law had checked the circumstances and confirmed Mr Joyce was a citizen.

It puts Malcolm Turnbull's majority government under threat.

Labor has responded angrily to My Joyce's declaration that on the basis of legal advice, he would carry on as Deputy PM and continue to vote on legislation in Parliament.

Tony Burke, the Manager for Opposition Business, told Parliament Mr Joyce must step aside and not vote on legislation until the High Court had ruled on his eligibility to be elected.

The call comes as an overwhelming response to a News Corp Australia poll, participated in by thousands of people, shows Australians are somewhat divided on the issue.

"Last Thursday afternoon the New Zealand High Commission contacted me to advise that on the basis of preliminary advice from their department of internal affairs, which had received inquiries from the New Zealand Labor Party, they considered that I may be a citizen by descent of New Zealand," Mr Joyce told Parliament this morning.

"Needless to say, I was shocked to receive this information. I have always been an Australian citizen, born in Tamworth, just as my mother and my great-grandmother (were) born there 100 years earlier.

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

The Government holds a one-seat majority in the House of Representatives and if Mr Joyce were disqualified from being able to sit in Parliament, the government would lose its majority. 

Mr Joyce, who was born in Australia in 1967, said he considered himself a fifth generation Australian.

His father was born in New Zealand and came to Australia in 1947 as a British subject, as New Zealand and Australian citizenship was not officially created until 1948.

Under New Zealand law, Mr Joyce is considered to have automatically been a New Zealand citizen from birth.

"If you were born overseas and at least one of your parents is a New Zealand citizen by birth or grant, you are an NZ citizen by descent," the New Zealand Government website on citizenship and passports states.

Mr Joyce disputed this in Parliament, saying the New Zealand Government had no register legally recognising him as a citizen.

"Given the strength of the legal advice the government has received the Prime Minister has asked that I remain Deputy Prime Minister and continue my ministerial duties," Mr Joyce told Parliament.

Mr Joyce's case has now been referred to the High Court by Turnbull Government Minister Christopher Pyne.

While making the referral, Mr Pyne told Parliament: "It is time for the High Court to be given the opportunity to make a determination about what section 44(1) of the Constitution means in the modern era."

"Because we are so confident of the deputy prime minister's status, he will continue fully, fully as the Member for New England, participating in the House and as the deputy prime minister and the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources," he said.

Treasurer Scott Morrison has downplayed the threat to the Turnbull Government's majority.

"You don't leap to conclusions about this and you do what is appropriate and that is what the Deputy Prime Minister and the Prime Minister has done," Mr Morrison told reporters at Parliament.

"You simply take the next step. It doesn't distract the Government from what we are focused on."

There were also fresh questions today over the citizenship status of Labor MPs, including Anthony Albanese and Tasmanian MP Justine Keay.

At a press conference in Canberra, Mr Albanese denied there were any question marks over his status.

"The circumstances of my birth is that I had a single parent, there is a single parent legally on my birth certificate, that was my mother who was born ... in the same hospital in which I was born in Darlinghurst (in Sydney)," he said.

"Her parents were both born here. Their parents were all born here as well."

Ms Keay's eligibility is in doubt as she only received confirmation that her UK citizenship had been renounced on July 11 last year, a week after the federal election.

But as she had written to the UK Home Office renouncing her British citizenship on May 23 and the form was received on May 31, she might be covered under the requirement that candidates for election make "all reasonable steps" to renounce their dual citizenship.

The latest saga comes on the back of two Greens MPs resigning over holding dual citizenship, and Nationals MP and Cabinet Minister Matt Canavan and One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts being referred to the High Court.

The office of Queensland Liberal MP Bert van Manen, who is automatically eligible for Dutch citizenship by descent, confirmed to News Corp Australia his citizenship would not be referred to the High Court.

Mr van Manen had received confirmation from Dutch authorities that he did not hold citizenship.

Another Liberal MP, Jason Falinski, has also confirmed that he is not a dual citizen by descent.

Mr Falinski confirmed with Polish authorities last month that he did not hold citizenship.

The Prime Minister has written to Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to invite him to "nominate any Labor members of senators whose circumstances may raise questions".


Greens deputy leader, Senator Scott Ludlam resigned on July 14. He had dual citizenship of Australia and New Zealand.

Under section 44 of the constitution, that makes him ineligible to hold elected office.

Greens deputy leader Senator Larissa Waters had to quit a few days on July 18. She is a dual Canadian citizen.

Coalition MP Resources Minister Matthew Canavan quit on July 25. His mother had applied for Italian citizenship for her son and herself in 2006 without his knowledge.

One Nation has referred Senator Malcolm Roberts to the High Court for a decision on whether he was a dual British and Australian citizen when he nominated for Parliament.

News Corp Australia

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