Barnaby Joyce tells Parliament he may be NZ citizen

Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands Manasseh Damukana Sogavare during a ceremonial welcome on the forecourt

Is anyone in our Parliament Australian? Now Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce refers himself to the High Court to probe whether he has dual New Zealand citizenship

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has revealed that he may be a citizen of New Zealand - and unable to serve in Parliament - after being informed of the potential issue by the New Zealand High Commission.

"On that basis the government is of the firm view that I would not be found to be disqualified by the operation of Section 44, i, of the Constitution from serving as the Member for New England".

He said legal advice suggested he has not breached the constitution, but the court should consider the matter.

The New Zealand high commission contacted the deputy prime minister last week to tell him that preliminary advice from the department of internal affairs indicated he could be a citizen of New Zealand by descent. Neither my or my parents had any reason to believe that I may be a citizen of any other country.

Mr Joyce's citizenship scare follows former Greens deputy leader Mr Ludlum resigning last month after discovering he "forgot" to renounce his NZ citizenship. He emigrated to Australia as a British subject but under NZ law, Mr Joyce's father was automatically designated a citizen by descent.

Mr Joyce made the admission at the beginning of Parliament on Monday morning.

The Nationals leader told parliament he was born in Tamworth in 1967 to an Australian mother and was fifth generation Australian.

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Three weeks ago Mr Joyce told the TODAY Show: "I am Australian, no problems there".

But he said that he was asking the High Court to make a ruling to clarify the situation.

"The Australian people must have confidence in our political system and resolving any uncertainty is vital".

"Neither my parents nor I have ever applied to register me as a New Zealand citizen, and the New Zealand government has no register recognising me as a New Zealand citizen".

Mr Joyce's father was never a NZ citizen because NZ and Australian citizenship did not exist in 19747.

The High Court is already considering the cases of two resigned Greens senators - Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters - as well as LNP senator Matt Canavan and One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts, who are both remaining in their jobs until the cases have been heard.

If the Nationals lost that by-election, the Turnbull government would lose its parliamentary majority.

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