Published: Wed, August 16, 2017
Life&Culture | By Kristin Armstrong

'Up to her neck in it': Citizenship saga gets ugly

'Up to her neck in it': Citizenship saga gets ugly

The New Zealand High Commission and Department of Internal Affairs notified Mr Joyce of his citizenship last week, after inquiries from Fairfax Media in Australia and Mr Hipkins on Monday and Wednesday respectively.

'Foreign ministers ought to be above that, this foreign minister is not, ' he told Sky News.

JULIE BISHOP: I maintain constant contact with my New Zealand colleagues, and I'm not going into the details of conversations that I have had, but I do call on Bill Shorten to reveal the name of the Labor member who urged a New Zealand member of Parliament, this is a foreign political party, to raise questions in a foreign Parliament deliberately created to undermine confidence in the Australian government.

"It is incorrect to assert, as Senator Brandis does, that this story broke as a result of any action by my office", she told parliament.

Mr Turnbull said Mr Shorten had plotted with his NZ Labour colleagues.

She told Radio New Zealand that somebody connected with the Australian Labor Party had put the questions to Hipkins without mentioning Joyce, and that Hipkins wouldn't have asked them if he knew how they were going to be used.

Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar alleged a conspiracy between the Australian and New Zealand centre-left parties, likening it to cold war espionage.

Mr Joyce's dismissal - on the grounds that he is a dual citizen, which is forbidden by the constitution - would mean that the ruling conservative coalition would lose its one seat majority in the House of Representatives.

And then after all this, Barnaby Joyce cops the same issue and turns around 24 hours later and says more or less "nah, we're all good now actually".

New Zealand Labour leader Jacinda Ardern today confirmed the speculation an ALP member asked NZ Labour frontbencher Chris Hipkins to look into Mr Joyce's status.

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Fronting the media afterwards, Ardern said the "open and honest" discussion was a chance to reiterate her stance on Hipkins' questions.

'I know they were a staffer.

Mr Marles said it showed Ms Bishop was willing to trash the relationship with New Zealand to pursue a domestic political agenda.

Along with their close diplomatic relations, Australia and New Zealand have had a long-running friendly rivalry covering sport, food and even the occasional joke on "Flight of the Conchords".

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has accused Bill Shorten of "conspiring with a foreign power" to steal government. This is highly unethical, at least, but more importantly, puts at risk the relationship between the Australian government and the New Zealand government.

Shorten said Turnbull should have learned from the "Yarra three" incident in which three Liberal MPs were forced to issue an unqualified apology to a Victorian court over their comments about "weak" terrorism sentencing.

The MPs who have yet to provide documents proving they are not dual citizens include Justine Keay, Susan Lamb, Brendan O'Connor, Maria Vamvakinou and Tony Zappia.

The other three are Tanya Plibersek, Senator Wong and Anthony Albanese.

Waters has since renounced her Canadian citizenship.

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