Turnbull cries foul over New Zealand 'plot' to topple him

Adjust Comment Print

The global spat stems from Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce's revelation this week that he was a New Zealand citizen, meaning he may be forced to step down under rules barring dual nationals from sitting in Australia's parliament.

"The fact is that a Labour front bencher (Chris Hipkins) in New Zealand was involved in asking questions about an issue that's been in the Australian media for months and its serious because they are a one vote majority in that party in parliament".

Ardern has since fired back, saying Bishop made false claims about the party.

"We have learned this morning the Australian Labor Party has been conspiring with the NZ Labour Party to undermine the position of the deputy prime minister and the government of Australia", he said. However, this has become a curse for many Australian political leaders lately.

Mr Joyce has meanwhile provided proof he has renounced his New Zealand citizenship, releasing documents by New Zealand's internal affairs department.

And Ms Bishop has accused Senator Wong of being "up to her neck in" a bid to use the New Zealand Parliament to launch an attack on Mr Joyce.

"Second, I did not know, nor did my staff member, that the New Zealand Labour Party had placed those questions on notice, until the story had broken".

"I've certainly relayed to him that it's my expectation that we focus on our own election rather than matters that are of no concern to us. Australian media inquiries [sic] were".


"It is distasteful to see the New Zealand Labour Party colluding with the Australian Labor Party on what was a political hit job targeting the Australian Deputy Prime Minister".

His citizenship case will be heard with four others in the High Court in Brisbane on August 24.

Ms. Bishop specifically pointed a finger at Bill Shorten, the leader of Australia's Labor Party, saying he used New Zealand's Labour Party to "raise questions in a foreign parliament deliberately created to undermine confidence in the Australian government". With huge uncertainty around North Korean aggression, Hipkins couldn't have chosen a worse time to destabilize trans-Tasman relations.

"He's been very clear: Yes, someone from the ALP put some legal question to him around citizenship, no mention was made of anyone's name, no rationale for any particular case being pursued was ever raised".

While Australia and New Zealand, both being former British colonies, have a close relationship historically, the scandal highlights the complexities of citizenship in a country that is arguably one of the most multicultural in the world: Australia is the country with the second-highest percentage of the population born overseas, after Saudi Arabia. "I have also contacted the Australian High Commission to register my disappointment and will be meeting with the High Commissioner later today".

"We now know there was a lot going on behind the scenes when I was waiting for that response".

She was "certainly disappointed" by Bishop's remarks, but would not rise to the bait when asked whether it was tantamount to interference in foreign politics.

Section 44 of the nation's constitution prohibits dual citizens from standing for election in the House of Representatives or the Senate.

Comments