Australian Deputy Prime Minister Ineligible For Parliament
October 27, 2017
By FTI Consulting
Australia has today seen its Deputy Prime Minister effectively removed from his post as a result of a decision by the country’s High Court that declared Barnaby Joyce ineligible to sit the Australian Parliament.
Mr. Joyce is one of 7 Australian politicians whose eligibility to sit in the Parliament came under scrutiny because of a constitutional question regarding dual citizenship.
Mr. Joyce is the most senior of the 7 individuals to have their fate determined by the Court and will now seek to be re-elected to his seat via a by-election to be held on December 2.
Today’s decision means the Conservative Coalition Government of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has lost its Parliamentary majority with 74 members versus 69 members of the Australian Labour Party and 5 independents.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives would cast a determining vote in the case of a 74-74 deadlock. Convention dictates the Speaker’s casting vote should maintain the status quo, which effectively means any attempt to change a law or introduce a new law would not succeed.
While the outcome of the High Court decision is politically embarrassing for the Government and will give the Labour opposition an opportunity to create the perception of incompetence and chaos, it’s not fatal.
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