Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce Reflects on his geneaology (Photo: Getty Images)
Toby Manhire – The Spin Off Senior Editor
The deputy PM is the latest Australian politician who could have to quit over dual citizenship rules. Fear not, top Ockers! The Spinoff’s legal dept has come up with a 100% foolproof solution to your pickle.
To be fair it does seem a bit of an underarm delivery on the constitution’s part. The dreaded Section 44 rules that no one who has citizenship in a country other than Australia can be elected to the Senate or the federal parliament.
The flurry of anxious paperwork-checking was triggered by Greens senator Scott Ludlam’s admission last month that, much like Metiria Turei and the world’s largest rugby scrum, he was born in Palmerston North, and had never formally chucked in his New Zealand citizenship after moving across the Tasman as a child.
Ludlam and another senator have resigned, and a bunch of others have come under scrutiny. Today, the deputy prime minister, Barnaby Joyce said he’d referred his own case to the High Court. He wasn’t born in New Zealand, but his father, James Joyce, while not being the famous novelist, was born in Dunedin, and therefore may have bequeathed him with the curse of Kiwi citizenship by descent.
All very ridiculous, really. The trouble is, it’s quite a palaver to change the constitution. It requires a referendum, and look at what a shambles the Australians have created for themselves in trying to run one to afford all their people to take part in the outdated institution of marriage.
There is, thank goodness, a simple fix. I am not a constitutional expert, nor a lawyer, nor, I should stress, able to enact statutes in the New Zealand parliament, let alone speak on behalf of my compatriots. But all that notwithstanding, let me put this offer to you, Australian political boss class: We will change our citizenship law so that anyone holding New Zealand citizenship who is successfully elected to the Australian house or senate has that citizenship automatically revoked. If you’re tangled up in a possible-citizenship-of-a-country-other-than-NZ shemozzle them, sorry, we can’t help you.
And all we ask in return is this: bin all the changes you’ve been stealthily introducing that discriminate against the 600,000-or-so New Zealanders – many born in Australia – who live in the lucky country, which deprive them of the same access to social services and pathways to citizenship and legal protections, and which show such disdain for CER and general sibling decency.
If you thought that by making John Key a knight of the order of the crocodile we’d forget about this litany of mean-mindedness, you’re quite wrong, though thanks for that, etc. Also we’d like some pseudoephedrine.
Basically what we’re saying is this: change these dumb rules, and we’ll help you with your other dumb rule.
Please take urgent action on these demands. Otherwise, as one correspondent suggests, we may need to automatically bestow citizenship on all your elected politicians.
[Read the Spin Off article].