Labour and Labor collusion over Barnaby Joyce grows

SOAP BOX: MP citizenship questions no shock

When it emerged on Monday that Mr Joyce might be a citizen, the initial reaction among New Zealand's politicians was mirth.

The court listing came as the row over the deputy prime minister's citizenship threatened not only the Turnbull government but relations with New Zealand.

It does seem a bit freaky though that New Zealand automatically gives citizenship to anyone born overseas to a parent who was a New Zealand citizen or who was born there (Mr Joyce's father was born in New Zealand, Mr Joyce himself was born in Australia). Bill Shorten has sought to use a foreign political party to raise serious allegations in a foreign Parliament created to undermine confidence in the Australian government.

Australia's treatment of New Zealand citizens has been a huge issue since changes were made to immigration policy and the Social Security Act back in 2001.

Mr Joyce, however, has asked the government to refer the matter to the High Court.

Mr Hipkins' party leader Jacinda Arden said the question was unacceptable and that she was happy to discuss the issue with Ms Bishop on the phone.

Mr Hipkins' involvement led Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to say she would have a problem trusting a New Zealand Labour-led government.

SOAP BOX: MP citizenship questions no shock

"I challenge anyone in this place to say they would not have done the same", he told parliament.

Senators Waters and Ludlam have already resigned from parliament and Senator Canavan has stood aside from the cabinet pending the court outcome. They had been smuggled in, contravening Australia's biosecurity laws.

Marcus Ganley, Australian Senator Penny Wong's chief of staff, was the Australian Labor Party staffer who spoke to Hipkins - a conversation Hipkins said prompted him to ask questions of Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne on the legal citizenship status of an Australian born to a New Zealand father.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop went further, casting doubt on whether Canberra could work with New Zealand Labour if it won a general election scheduled for next month.

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. "Australian media inquiries were", he said on Twitter. And to, again, make sure that we impart how important our relationship is. "I would think one of the things that might help in a New Zealand election campaign is to be roughed up by Australians and to be resolute in your defense against them", he said.

If he is cleared by the High Court, Joyce can continue to sit in parliament.

"If the High Court took a particularly generous interpretation of this, it might curb the eligibility problems of the senators and MPs, but that's a hard thing to do given. the section is quite clear", he said. "It is quite extraordinary", she said.

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