August 26th 2017

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Articles from this issue:

CANBERRA OBSERVED Crikey, is nobody a true dinks Aussie these days?

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE Hundreds of doctors call on AMA to withdraw defective statement on same-sex marriage

EUTHANASIA What disability advocates say about assisted suicide by Daniel Giles

RIGHTS Triggs' contribution to human rights and the role of international human rights bodies

ENERGY High prices 'destroying the economy': Glencore

ENERGY Renewable energy barely even a fair weather friend

ECONOMICS The world it is a-changin': globalisation in crisis

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE Gay Liberals' push out of step with LGBTI realities

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS South Africa is losing its rainbow nation credentials

MUSIC A moral scale: Does 'good' music make us better?

CINEMA War for the Planet of the Apes: Best-laid plans of apes and men

BOOK REVIEW Risk nothing; gain nothing

BOOK REVIEW The most infamous crime in history


MARRIAGE The issue, Bill, is transgender marriage



SAME-SEX MARRIAGE The media, champions for free speech and rights (for the media), demonstrate predictable inability to contain bias on postal vote

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Crikey, is nobody a true dinks Aussie these days?

by NW Contributor

News Weekly, August 26, 2017

Barnaby Joyce’s New Zealand citizenship woes have placed the Turnbull Government on the precipice with the prospect of a shortened term now a very real possibility.

Barnaby Joyce could have sworn he wasn't a Kiwi.

The Government’s razor-thin majority could be sheared back further and Malcolm Turnbull’s prime ministership become wholly dependent on the goodwill of the crossbenchers. On top of it all will be the threat of a Labor no-confidence motion hanging over it.

There is no way of skirting around the fact that the Coalition has joined the Greens in making a complete hash of the citizenship issue, both in its failure to vet candidates before being elected and in its response once the issue surfaced.

When two Greens senators, New Zealand-born Scott Ludlum and Canadian-born Larissa Waters, resigned from Parliament after learning of their dual citizenships, Coalition MPs, including the prime minister, were quick to laugh at the Greens’ sloppiness.

But now, with the shoe on the other foot, two very senior Coalition MPs are refusing to resign, causing deep damage to the credibility of the Government.

First there was Matt Canavan; and then his leader, Barnaby Joyce. Their only defence compared with the Greens senators’ predicament is that neither man was born overseas.

Mr Canavan opted to resign from cabinet until the High Court decides on the validity of his election after he discovered his mother had made him an Italian citizen without his knowledge when he was in his mid-20s.

However, the person who is now acting Resources Minister on Canavan’s behalf (Deputy Prime Minister Joyce) is in the same awkward position except that the Government has now concluded that Mr Joyce is too important a scalp to step aside voluntarily, and that Joyce will hold his dual ministries pending the High Court’s decision on whether he was validly elected.

No one, including the brightest constitutional legal minds in the country, can confidently predict how the High Court’s judges will rule on the issue.

However, the now infamous section 44 of the Constitution is fairly straightforward. It applies to any person who “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.”

Previous High Court cases where it has been revealed an elected candidate was discovered to have had dual citizenship went against the candidate.

Unbeknown to Barnaby Joyce, he has always been a citizen of New Zealand courtesy of his immigrant father, James, who came to live in Australia in 1946. Barnaby was born in Tamworth in 1967.

It seems an absurdity that someone born and raised in Australia can also be a citizen of a “foreign power” without their knowledge, but that is the position Mr Joyce finds himself; and the fate of the Government depends on the success or otherwise of his High Court case.

If Mr Joyce’s election is found to be invalid, he will face a byelection in his seat of New England, which he holds with an 8 per cent margin. He should retain the seat, but the Government is unpopular and the Labor Party and possibly his nemesis, former member Tony Windsor, will do everything in their power to seize it from him.

Press Gallery veteran Michelle Grattan summed up the problems for the Government warning that if Mr Joyce loses his case in the High Court, “The process would run into months.

“The Nationals would be effectively leaderless. The Government would have lost its majority in the House of Representatives. It would be all right on supply and confidence, thanks to agreements with some crossbenchers, and would still get most legislation through. But where all the crossbenchers sided with Labor, it would be in trouble.

“It would be in nightmare territory, with Labor having endless opportunity for disruption. Assuming Turnbull is right that Joyce will be found in the clear, the immediate situation is still very bad for the Government. It’s another distraction, and a serious one, internally and externally.”

The Joyce vexation comes at a time when the Government is already facing myriad problems, including divisions over same-sex marriage, and the ultimate direction of the party courtesy of Tony Abbott, and ongoing poor performance in the polls.

For Malcolm Turnbull to lose his deputy would be a genuine disaster, for the Nationals a calamity, and for the Government the prospect of losing an election that looms faster by the day.

All you need to know about
the wider impact of transgenderism on society.
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