Section 44 of the Constitution states that any person who –
(i.) Is under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or citizen of a foreign power…shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.
Quite a few MP’s failed this test but the highest profile failure was our friend Barnaby Joyce.
Barnaby refused to refer himself to the High Court and denied he was a Kiwi but the NZ Government said he was. He still refused to stand down and said the Government’s lawyers were of the “firm view” that the High Court would not disqualify him. The PM at the time, Malcolm Turnbull, defended Barnaby declaring “The leader of the National Party, the Deputy Prime Minister, is qualified to sit in this House and the High Court will so hold” he said. Those words came back to bite him many times.
Of course, this claim was rubbish and Barnaby had to face the High Court. Giving evidence, he said he didn’t know his father was a Kiwi. The court didn’t accept that claim and he was determined to be ineligible to sit in Parliament. That resulted in a by-election in his seat of New England. Read the full High Court judgement here .
My favourite piece from this story was Barnaby’s nomination as “Kiwi of the Year”. He didn’t win it, but got the second highest number of nominations (https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/barnaby-joyce-nominated-for-kiwi-of-the-year-award-20170825-gy41kv.html)
On to the by-election in December 2017…As expected, Barnaby easily won the seat back, with an increased primary vote (Tony Windsor decided not to run) and he quickly got back into Parliament.
The biggest story of the by-election however was never reported. Rumours were swirling that Barnaby had broken up with his wife and had moved in with another women (a staffer, Vikki Campion). The mainstream media ignored this story but Twitter was all over it. It looked like the media were hiding the story for some strange reason. As it turned out, five minutes after the by-election the media picked up the story and ran with it and the rest is history. In his book Joyce writes about how “amazing” it was that news of their affair didn’t come out during the campaign. Yeah Barnaby….amazing.
Full episode on Barnaby’s affair is documented at: https://www.thedodgybrothers.com/bonking-barnaby/Tweet