Labour and Labor collusion over Barnaby Joyce grows

Barnaby Joyce
SOAP BOX: MP citizenship questions no shock

18 August, 2017

The latest twist in the saga has been Foreign Minister Julie Bishop's accusations today that opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong was "up to her neck" in the conspiracy and conspired with the New Zealand Labour Party.

New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English said he accepted the Australian reaction, and he took the opportunity to give the Labour Party a ticking-off for getting mixed up in Australian politics.

However, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says the contact between the Opposition and their cross-Tasman counterparts over the citizenship issue meant it would "very hard to build trust" with a Labour government should the opposition party win the upcoming New Zealand election. It had everything: celebrities, dogs, Australians, opportunistic politicians, the threat of animal slaughter, Johnny Depp being forced to look honest and a fun hashtag: #WarOnTerrier.

Ms Bishop later hit out at a New Zealand MP in the Australian parliament.

Her cabinet minister Christopher Pyne accused the Labor opposition of stooping to new lows.

But Joyce will hope it bolsters the case to remain in his job, preserving the government's wafer-thin buffer, until the High Court determines if he is eligible to sit as an elected official.

Mr Hipkins had put in written questions that were linked to Mr Joyce's parliamentary eligibility, and he's been blasted by his party leader in New Zealand for his lack of judgement.

Senator Wong, the Opposition's foreign affairs spokeswoman, has admitted her chief of staff was involved in fishing for information around Barnaby Joyce's citizenship before it was revealed the Deputy Prime Minister was a New Zealand citizen.

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However, Mr Joyce is refusing to stand down, saying the Government's lawyers were of the "firm view" that the High Court would not disqualify him because his New Zealand citizenship had been conferred on him without his knowledge.

The turmoil saw the Sydney Morning Herald label Turnbull's centre-right coalition government as "on the brink", while The Australian opined "PM under a long white cloud", referencing the Maori name for New Zealand.

Hours later he was confirmed by Minister Dunne's to be a New Zealander by default under the Citizenship Act of 1948 which states that a child born to a New Zealand national is automatically given citizenship.

Media inquiries had already been under way when the NZ MP raised his query.

"It is a matter for the Australian system to decide how Australian law applies in his case and how they deal with this issue", he told reporters.

"We go through parents and we go through grandparents and then a team of lawyers work with the candidates to make sure they have fulfilled the requirements of Section 44", he said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is also under pressure over comments he made in parliament about the likely outcome of the High Court ruling.

"However, Chris himself has acknowledged that had he known what those questions would be used for, he wouldn't have asked them", she said.

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