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Australian court disqualifies deputy PM for dual citizenship

Australian court disqualifies deputy PM for dual citizenship”

The deputy prime minister is the main casualty, after being found to have held dual citizenship when he ran for election.

This is a stunning decision that cost the government its one-seat parliamentary majority and forced a by-election.

Australia's High Court has ruled that Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce is ineligible to remain in parliament. "It's a pretty simple story - we're off to a by-election".

However, constitutional expert George Williams has said there was a risk that some of decisions could be open to challenge, but it would only be those made after Mr Joyce's bombshell announcement in August that he might be a New Zealand citizen.

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"I had no reason to believe that, you know, I was a citizen of any other country than Australia".

Voters will go to the polls in his seat of New England on December 2.

It's expected he will win after his main challenger, former independent MP Tony Windsor, announced he would not be running.

The ruling has put the future of Malcolm Turnbull's government in doubt.

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Australia's constitution states that members of parliament can not be "a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or citizen of a foreign power". The senator had already renounced his New Zealand citizenship before the election, but the case led to politicians and the media accusing other lawmakers of violating the constitution.

The two senators allowed to stay in parliament were Matt Canavan, who the court heard might have inherited Italian citizenship from his Australian-born mother through Italian grandparents; and Nick Xenophon, who was born to Cypriot and Greek parents and had checked with both embassies to ensure he wasn't a citizen of those countries.

"In any of these decisions, it is an alternative that you have to consider, otherwise you. don't have a balanced approach", Mr Joyce told a local Tamworth radio station.

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