Ardern denies Labour involvement in Joyce's downfall

Author
Jacqui Stanford,
Publish Date
Fri, 27 Oct 2017, 4:28PM
Barnaby Joyce and Jacinda Ardern. Photo/File
Barnaby Joyce and Jacinda Ardern. Photo/File

Ardern denies Labour involvement in Joyce's downfall

Author
Jacqui Stanford,
Publish Date
Fri, 27 Oct 2017, 4:28PM

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has reiterated the Labour Party was not involved in the downfall of Barnaby Joyce. 

The Australian Deputy Prime Minister was disqualified from parliament this afternoon, throwing the Australian government into chaos.

The Australian High Court ruled that Joyce was ineligible to be elected to parliament as he held dual-New Zealand citizenship at the time. 

The court case started after the first revelations in August that Joyce, whose father was born in New Zealand, was a New Zealand citizen. 

He was elected to parliament last year before renouncing his citizenship. 

The Australian Constitution does not allow politicians to be elected to office if they hold dual-citizenship.

The Labour Party became embroiled in the scandal when Labour MP Chris Hipkins confirmed he had looked into the citizenship rules after being asked by an Australian Labor member. 

Contacted by the Herald about the High Court judgement, Hipkins declined to comment, but Ardern said that he had nothing to do with today's court decision. 

"We were not directly aware of Mr Joyce's situation at the time that Chris asked the questions he did, and maintain that, of course, he should never have asked them. But this was not something we were directly involved in."

Asked if she had any sympathy for Joyce she said: "I've certainly observed situations like this where politicians have been caught off guard through no fault of their own.

Joyce held a press conference in his seat of New England shortly after the decision and said that there will be a by-election on December 2nd. 

“I was always prepared for this outcome, I don’t actually stand here totally surprised,” he said. 

The ruling has put the future of Malcolm Turnbull's government in doubt. Joyce gave the Coalition government its one seat majority in the house. 

However, Turnbull said in a press conference that he is not worried that it will end his government. 

"We have the support of a majority of members, we have a majority in the house of Representatives and we enjoy the support of the crossbench," he told reporters.

The court ruled that former federal minister Matt Canavan, who resigned over the crisis, and independent Nick Xenophon can remain in parliament.

The deputy of Joyce's National Party, Fiona Nash, alongside senators Larissa Waters, Scott Ludlam and Malcolm Roberts have also been disqualified. 

The Australian share market has taken a hit as a result of the decision, dropping 0.3 per cent. 

LISTEN TO AUSTRALIAN CORRESPONDENT TALK TO LARRY WILLIAMS ABOUT THE UNFOLDING STORY