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It turns out deputy PM Barnaby Joyce might be a Kiwi

14 August 2017

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.

Mr Joyce told Parliament the New Zealand High Commission contacted him last Thursday to say he might be a citizen of New Zealand because his father was born there.

Mr Joyce on Monday said he was shocked to receive that information, adding he had been born in Australia and had always been an Australian.

"Given the strength of the legal advice the government has received, the prime minister has asked that I remain Deputy Prime Minister and continue my ministerial duties", he said.

The Nationals leader made the announcement in Parliament this morning that he will refer his own eligibility to sit to the High Court.

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He told the parliament the government had received legal advice that he was in the clear, but referred himself to be on the safe side.

Joyce was born in Australia.

Surprise dual nationalities have already claimed the scalps of Greens' senators Larissa Waters and Scott Ludlam, who quit when their citizenships of Canada and NZ respectively came to light. "Neither I, nor my parents have ever had any reason to believe I may be a citizen of any other country", he told parliament.

Joyce's father, James, emigrated from New Zealand in 1947.

If so, Mr Turnbull suggested they, too, be referred to the High Court, so there were no more surprises.

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"I was born in Australia in 1967 to an Australian mother and I think I'm fifth generation".

It comes after two Greens senators resigned over holding dual citizenship, and Nationals MP and Cabinet Minister Matt Canavan and One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts were referred to the High Court.

If Mr Joyce is found to be ineligible, the government - which holds a one-seat majority in the lower house - would be forced into a by-election.

Unlike Senator Canavan, who was registered as an Italian citizen by his mother, Mr Joyce was never registered by anyone, nor did he make any moves to seek dual citizenship.

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It turns out deputy PM Barnaby Joyce might be a Kiwi