Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says the Coalition will continue to govern despite the loss of his deputy, National Party leader Barnaby Joyce.
“As you know we have support from the cross bench,” Turnbull told a media conference.
Asked if he could survive a no-confidence motion in parliament, Turnbull said: “We have a majority of members on the floor.”
The Coalition can also count on the casting vote of the Speaker, Tony Smith.
The High Court has ruled Joyce ineligible for parliament because he has New Zealand citizenship.
Joyce sits in the House of Representatives where the Coalition government only has a majority of one.
The ruling means he will have to fight a byelection.
Turnbull says the High Court ruling is “clearly not the outcome” the government was looking for.
However, he thanked the court for its clarification of the meaning of the critical Section 44 of the Constitution and said the solicitor-general would consider the meaning of the court’s judgement.
“While I know that Barnaby will be disappointed with the outcome of the court case, he’s been let out of the stalls and he’s ready and raring to go,” Turnbull says.
He says Matt Canavan, a National Party senator for Queensland ruled eligible by the High Court, would be restored to the cabinet immediately. He had been Minister for Resources.
“The past few months have been very stressful for Barnaby, Fiona (Nash, Deputy Leader of the National Party), and Matt,” says Turnbull.
Turnbull will be taking over the agriculture and water resources portfolio from Joyce.
“Throughout the uncertainty of the past few months… we’ve been determined the court’s deliberations would not distract us,” he says.
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