The High Court has ruled Barnaby Joyce, the Deputy Prime Minister, ineligible to stand for parliament because he had New Zealand citizenship when he stood at last year’s election.
The ruling means he will have to fight a by-election for his seat of New England.
The former Queensland Nationals senator who moved the the lower house and won the NSW seat in 2013 is expected to once again face his old foe Tony Windsor, the former independent who challenged Joyce unsuccessfully in 2016, who has already signalled he would run again against the Nationals leader.
Joyce would be expected to win but until that time the Turnbull government won’t have a majority in Parliament.
Following the High Court ruling, Joyce told the media that he wasn’t surprised by the result, and was prepared the outcome.
“I’d like to apologise for the inconvenience… of the by-election,” he said, adding that it was likely to occur by December 2.
“I respect the verdict of the court… we live in a marvelous democracy.
“I thank the court for their deliberations.
“I was always apprehensive (about the result)… I am naturally cautious,” he said, adding: “I don’t stand here totally surprised.”
He added: “I had no reason to believe I was a citizen of any other country.”
Tamworth-born Joyce’s father was born in New Zealand, and moved to Australia in 1947, giving his son Kiwi citizenship by descent.
“It’s a tough game politics… we all buy the ticket and know the risks,” he said.
“I’m not going to cry into my beer.”
Having recounted his New Zealand citizenship within days of it being revealed in July, he now says, “I put myself forward to the people of New England as their candidate.”
He said he felt for former Senator Fiona Nash, who was also found ineligible, saying she had been “stoic” through this process.
“I get the chance of a by-election, Nash doesn’t.”
The High Court ruled senators Malcolm Roberts, Larissa Waters, and Scott Ludlam are also ineligible.
Matt Canavan and Nick Xenophon are eligible.
Joyce said he doesn’t regret not stepping down.
NOW READ: Australia’s deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce is disqualified from Parliament — because he’s a Kiwi
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