Barnaby Joyce at the Longyard Pub, after the High court ruled he was a New Zealand Citizen.?? CREDIT:?? Peter Hardin, 27-10-17.Former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce has dared the Labor Party and the union movement to bring a legal challenge against any of the decisions he oversaw before he was thrown out of Parliament by the High Court.
More than 100 Turnbull government decisions could be vulnerable to legal challenge as a result of Barnaby Joyce and Fiona Nash’s dual citizenship status, with lawyers engaged by the Labor Party concluding there is a high likelihood the work the pair has done over the past year will end up before the courts.
The Australian Council of Trade Unions has also commissioned legal advice about the validity of a parliamentary vote on penalty rates.
The question mark over decisions that were made while Mr Joyce and Ms Nash were in Parliament adds to the sense of chaos Labor is trying to create around the Turnbull government following the High Court’s decision on Friday which disqualified five MPs – Mr Joyce, Ms Nash, Malcolm Roberts, Larissa Waters and Scott Ludlam – from Parliament because they held dual citizenship.
Mr Joyce – who is now fighting a byelection in his NSW seat of New England – dared the Labor Party to bring on a challenge.
“If the Labor Party want to challenge a whole heap of decisions to make poor people poorer and to show they’ve got absolutely no vision for regional Australia, go right ahead fellas,” Mr Joyce told ABC’s Radio National on Monday morning.
The advice from senior silk Matt Collins, QC, and barrister Matt Albert says Mr Joyce’s and Ms Nash’s ministerial decisions are now at risk under section 64 of the constitution, which requires ministers to be members of Parliament..
Mr Joyce, the former agriculture and water minister, disputed this saying he and Ms Nash, the former regional development minister, remained members of parliament up until the moment the High Court disqualified them.
“You stay in until such time as [one of] three events occur: you die, you resign or you are found ineligible by the High Court. And, at that point, you are out of Parliament – not before,” Mr Joyce said.
Speaking after the High Court’s decision on Friday, Mr Joyce said had been worried the court would find against him.
But on Monday he denied he should have resigned from the ministry and cabinet as Matt Canavan did.
Senator Canavan was one of the two MPs – along with Nick Xenophon – cleared by the High Court.
“Just because you thought something doesn’t make it a fact. I relied on the more competent advice which came from the Solicitor-General and just because the Solicitor-General says something doesn’t mean it’s right every time. But it’s obviously vastly more competent than my musings as an accountant who had a practice in St George,” Mr Joyce said.
Acting Prime Minister Julie Bishop said “there may be a few decisions” the government would need to examine but she was confident the “vast majority” of the government’s decisions were not open to challenge.
Mr Joyce also called for a multi question referendum to deal with a number of issues he said people wanted dealt with – including constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians and section 44 of the constitution.
“People are saying, how could you be born in the Tamworth Base Hospital, when your great grandmother was born in Tamworth, your great grandfather was born in Glen Innes, you’ve served in the Australian Army Reserve and somehow you’re not an Australian. How does that work? To be frank, I have a hard time trying to explain that to them,” he said.
The Turnbull government has already ruled out taking section 44 of the constitution to a referendum but it has flagged the possibility of amendments to the Citizenship Act to clarify the position of people who were born overseas or have a parent who was born overseas and want a career in politics.
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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.