The Soap Box: Aussie citizenship row had the potential of being a wrecking ball

Author
Barry Soper,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 16 August 2017, 5:58AM
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Surely Jacinderella Ardern was having a John Key moment, ignoring the bleedingly obvious, insisting her senior MP Chris Hipkins knew nothing and, worse still, seeming to believe it when it came to a fraternal inquiry from his Aussie Labour colleagues.

They were inquiring of Hipkins about citizenship laws in God's Own, but didn't say and weren't asked, who the subject of their inquiry was. Yeah right, fair suck of the sav Blue.

The story doesn't stack up on several levels but it's caused a furore of Russia/United States' election interference proportions.

The Aussie High Commissioner was summoned by Ardern to explain an outburst by the Turnbull Government's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop saying if there's a change of Government to Labour here next month she'd find it very hard to build trust with those involved in the allegations aimed at undermining the Government of Australia.

It's impossible to think that she wasn't put up to those comments by Turnbull himself who's had bromances with both John Key and Bill English.

But undermined his Government has been with his Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce now waiting to hear from the High Court there about whether he can continue in his job, because he's actually a Kiwi. His dad was born here and it automatically follows his son's a Kiwi unless he renounces it, even though he was born and bred in Australia.

The story doesn't stack up here because if Chris Hipkins wasn't told by his fraternal comrades in Australia that the target was Joyce, then he was sucked in and for a senior politician that's inexcusable. And it beggars belief that he wouldn't have asked anyway why they wanted to know.

They didn't need Hipkins. A simple search of New Zealand citizenship rules, easily accessible on the internet, would have answered their question, that Joyce was in fact a Kiwi and now may be ineligible to continue in his job, even though he's now formally renounced his citizenship. Turnbull's one seat majority is now a nail biter.

It's not as though the rules weren't in the public arena. The Aussie beltway had been buzzing with other politicians having to resign recently because of the antiquated rule of dual citizenship there precluding them from holding office.

Because he broke the rules perhaps Joyce should be sent to Christmas Island with all the other Kiwis to await the court's outcome.

And anyway we've owed the Aussies an underarm ball for yonks but this one was much bigger, having the very real potential of being a wrecking ball.

And to think, this time a fortnight ago, Ardern was settling into her first day of office and there's still just over five weeks to go!

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