Australian constitutional crisis triggered by former Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate

Australia satellite plane
This is all a bit bizarre.

The Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, Barnaby Joyce, together with four senators, has had his election declared null and void by the country’s High Court. There will be a by-election to fill the Deputy PM’s seat, which has been vacated by this ruling. There will also be recounts in the four senate seats.

All this was due to infringements of rules pertaining to dual citizenship. Australia’s constitution bans anyone holding dual citizenship from sitting in parliament. Mr Joyce discovered that he had joint New Zealand citizenship by descent from his father. He has since renounced this status and will fight the forthcoming by-election.

This is all a nightmare for Australian PM, Malcolm Turnbull, who holds power with a “waafer thin” majority.

And it seems all this was kicked off by one William Summers, a Melbourne-based blogger hailing from Norfolk who was once an assistant to Norman Lamb and Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Norfolk North West in 2010. William spotted that the Deputy PM was also a New Zealand citizen, pointed this out in a blog post, and the whole thing kicked off.

You couldn’t make it up!

William Summers tweets @william_summers

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

Read more by .
This entry was posted in News.


  • Lachlan Woods 31st Oct '17 - 9:56am

    Just to make a slight correction: only one by-election will be occurring (in the seat of New England, where Barnarby Joyce was the MP). The remaining four seats were in the Senate, which means that there will simply be a recount of votes from the respective states. Most likely, it will be filled by the person that was next on the same party list as the Senator in question.
    Thankfully, we don’t need to all go back to the polling booth – Australia is a bit sick of voting at the moment (with state and local elections, as well as the ridiculous postal vote on marriage equality).

  • The Australian rule is that if the country you want to renounce has a mechanism for renunciation, you have to follow it; if they don’t, then you can make a formal statement to the Australian government that you wish to renounce that other citizenship but the other country won’t let you, and then you must do nothing to acknowledge the other citizenship (like getting a passport) thereafter, and it’s treated as being renounced.

    Still think that some country should pass a law automatically granting citizenship to anyone elected as an Australian MP, with a process for renunciation that takes one day longer than Australian MPs are elected for.

  • Daniel Carr 31st Oct '17 - 1:19pm

    @Richard Gadsden

    The Australian High Court considered that scenario in a prior s44 ruling and stated that were a state to confer citizenship just to disrupt parliament, it would not be grounds for an election to be annulled.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • User AvatarPaul Reynolds 17th Jul - 12:09am
    This is an interesting debate, intended as exoteric but veering towards esoteric ! Some comments reflect quite a popular view in the Lib Dems, which...
  • User AvatarZak 16th Jul - 11:41pm
    @David Raw I'd recommend you check out the Adam Smith Institute policy page. There's honestly some of the best liberal policies on there. @Fraser I...
  • User Avatarfrankie 16th Jul - 11:34pm
    In all, 14 Tories rebelled against the government’s adopted ERG amendment (new clause 36): Heidi Allen Guto Bebb Rochard Benyon Ken Clarke Jonathan Djanogly Domonic...
  • User AvatarFraser Coppin 16th Jul - 11:08pm
    @Paul Walter - It's fine, I fully expected that this article would ruffle a few feathers, and that's fine. We're having a conservation about one...
  • User AvatarAlan Greenfield 16th Jul - 10:43pm
    A week is a long time in politics - things can change really quickly - keep going - we know we are right on this...
  • User Avatarfrankie 16th Jul - 10:18pm
    Jennie, i suspect that the majority of "those who want to get into parliament, and who will give up their liberal ideals to get there"...