An Australian court began the much awaited hearing into the issue of the seven MPs found with dual citizenship. The hearing will consider whether the Australian politicians can continue in their posts.
Thus the High Court of Australia is required to clarify if there are to be exceptions to the constitution’s rules. The argument made by the defendants is that they were unaware of the second citizenship.
The Court must now analyze if this ignorance to their predicament can be considered a plausible defense. The verdict is likely to cause a major sway in Australia’s political leadership.
One of the accused is Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce. The government is set to argue that only the two politicians who “voluntarily obtained or retained” their dual statues ought to be disqualified.
The five remaining politicians, including Mr. Joyce were unaware of the second citizenship. Thus, they ought to remain eligible.
The hearing will last three days and a ruling could be made as early as Thursday, October 12. The case involves seven major MPs, namely, Deputy PM Joyce, his government colleagues, Fiona Nash and Matt Canavan along with four minor party politicians, Malcolm Roberts, Nick Xenophon, Larissa Waters, and Scott Ludlam.
If Joyce loses his seat, the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull could be forced to oversee a minority government.
The citizenship saga began in July when New Zealand born, Scott Ludlam, announced he was a dual national.