PHOTO: This is an opportunity for Barnaby Joyce to become the Deputy Prime Minister for New Zealand as well. (ABC News: Mark Moore)
Oz Kiwi opinion
While this proposal would sort out a multitude of issues for Kiwis in Australia (including, of course, the Deputy Prime Minister!), we’re not entirely sure it would meet with universal approval.
Dom Knight – ABC News
“I think you have just got to do your homework and make sure you’re not a citizen of two countries when you stand for Parliament … ignorance is not an excuse.”
So said no less an expert on the operation of section 44 of the Australian Constitution than Barnaby Joyce, speaking to RN’s Patricia Karvelas a few weeks ago.
Now, the sheepskin boot may well be on the other foot. And the response from Australia’s Government — if it can still be called Australia’s Government when its deputy leader is potentially half-Kiwi — has been as shaky as the Isles where Joyce’s father was born.
It’s hard not to feel sorry for the Deputy PM when, according to the blogger who broke this story a few weeks ago, even the NZ Government seemed not to understand the operation of its historical laws when originally asked about it. Citizenship rules are extremely complicated, particularly when conferred automatically.
We need to reform a constitutional provision that was drafted back when the only citizenship that counted was that of the British Empire — and if you take a strictly originalist approach to our constitution, Joyce would be fine, as back then Aussies and Kiwis alike came under the same benevolent umbrella of her majesty.
Changing the constitution is notoriously hard, but fortunately, our foundation document contains another option that could save Joyce — a provision by which New Zealand can become a state of Australia. The constitution’s preamble conveniently names New Zealand as one of the states that could make up the Commonwealth, and Section 141 allows Parliament to add it — perhaps it’s time to make it official.
Everyone wins, not just Barnaby
It’s one of those rare situations where everyone wins — especially the combined Australian rugby team, which would be unbeatable once composed entirely of All Blacks.
If the High Court rules against the Deputy PM, the resulting by-election could threaten the Government’s slim majority.
And New Zealanders frequently bemoan our legal treatment of their 600,000 citizens who live here — well, that could be sorted out with a simple NZ referendum.
New Zealand becoming a state of Australia would also resolve so many of the endless arguments between our two great nations — or rather, our great combined nation. Afterwards, the pavlova would undoubtedly have been invented in Australia. So too the flat white.
Russell Crowe would be granted Australian citizenship at last, and Crowded House would be 100 per cent Australian, too. We’d also claim Split Enz, which could be renamed Split Oz, while the ANZ Bank would just become A Bank.
What’s more, the Government reckons NZ Labour is already working with our ALP, so they might be well on the way to uniting already.
We have much to learn from our trans-Tasman friends. Reconciliation with the Maori people has been far more successfully achieved, and they’re more relaxed about same-sex marriage, too. In fact, they’re more relaxed about everything.
Come on over, it’s time
New Zealand’s sense of humour is the driest in the world, surely. NZ’s PM Bill English was funny even when talking about Mr Joyce’s status yesterday.
“I don’t think anyone meant it to be ironic,” he quipped. Which of course concedes, ever so politely, that it is. Surely it would be in our interest to join forces with the nation that gave us that inimitable trans-Tasman ironist, John Clarke?
The Kiwis don’t find everything hilarious, admittedly — they still don’t seem to recognise what a delightfully light-hearted prank Trevor Chappell’s underarm ball was — but if we can laugh at the Flight of the Conchords’ portrayal of Australians through our gritted teeth, they can get over underarm-gate, too.
Stay where you are, New Zealand, but come over in a constitutional sense.
Let’s pool our resources — mostly Australia’s, of course. But I’m sure WA won’t mind if some of their mining revenues flow your way, too.
As a gesture of goodwill, we original Australians would be only too happy to put the new federal parliament in Wellington, unless you’d prefer somewhere even further away. And NZ would be well represented in that new Parliament — you’ve apparently already got a claim on the Deputy PM.
So get ready to say “kia ora” to your new mates, Kiwi buddies, and let’s make Aotearoa a part of Australia.
[Read the ABC News article].