Australian court disqualifies deputy PM for dual citizenship

He said he was unaware of his dual nationality before the election.

The High Court will be asked to rule on whether the decisions were constitutionally valid, as they were made after the two ministers effectively ceased to hold office last October.

Barnaby Joyce has apologised to his constituents in New England and pledged to continue to serve them after his election to the Federal Parliament was found invalid by the High Court of Australia on Friday.

"I had no reason to believe I was a citizen of any other country but Australia".

The former deputy prime minister now must fight a by-election for his seat of New England on December 2.

"Now I am going to make sure that I don't cry in my beer".

It's expected he will win after his main challenger, former independent MP Tony Windsor, announced he would not be running.

Four of the other six senators were also ruled ineligible from sitting in parliament, including government minister Fiona Nash, who inherited British citizenship through her father.

The seven judges rejected the government's argument that five of the lawmakers, including three government lawmakers, should be exempt from the ban because they had not voluntarily acquired or retained citizenship of another country.

"I respect the verdict of the court", Mr Joyce said immediately after the verdict.

And as for Joyce and his role - he said he's still committed to getting back to work in the hopes of winning the upcoming by-election, with Northern Territory Senator Nigel Scullion filling his place as interim leader of the National Party and Deputy PM.

The New Zealand High Commission told him he had been a New Zealand citizen in August and he renounced his citizenship after that.

  • Joey Payne