Australian court rules deputy PM ineligible for parliament

DUAL CITIZEN Senator Matt Canavan's will respect the High Court's decision

"I would like to apologise for the inconvenience that will happen by reason of having a by-election, which we will go to nearly immediately".

The High Court decision, delivered on Friday afternoon, means Australia's coalition government no longer has a majority in the House of Representatives.

Joyce was born in Australia but had New Zealand citizenship through his father.

But the court found Mr. Joyce was a New Zealander by descent at the time of his nomination previous year.

A by-election will be held in December in Joyce's electorate of New South Wales.

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

It comes after a High Court ruling found five members of the house and Senate had been inelligble for election due to dual citizenship provisions, including now former deputy prime minister Mr Joyce.

But he said there was a genuine uncertainty over any call made after it was clear Mr Joyce's eligibility would be tested by the High Court. "I thank the court [for] their deliberations".

"That's why standing down is the wisest course", he said. "I don't actually stand here totally surprised".

Mr Joyce said it was wrong to claim the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority move could be exposed to legal challenge, as it was a cabinet decision signed off by the finance minister.

This is a stunning decision that cost the government its one-seat parliamentary majority and forced a by-election. He renounced it after last year's election.

"I just think that people should be reminded of that and if they really have a strong view of something, put your name to it".

Australia's constitution states that members of parliament can not be "a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or citizen of a foreign power".

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