Australia: Constitutional crisis over deputy PM ruling

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"Now I am going to make sure that I don't cry in my beer".

Turnbull will be taking over the agriculture and water resources portfolio from Joyce.

Mr. Joyce will be able to stand for re-election, however, having renounced his New Zealand citizenship since the last election.

Barnaby Joyce, the combative deputy to Malcolm Turnbull, the prime minister, was thrown out of parliament on Friday because of a 116-year-old constitutional ban on dual citizens being elected to parliament.

Joyce will now be forced to try and win back his New England seat in a by-election.

Four of the other six senators were also ruled ineligible from sitting in parliament, including government minister Fiona Nash, who inherited British citizenship through her father.

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The fate of Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce is most crucial to the government in an unprecedented political crisis.

Another government minister Matt Canavan, who the court heard might have inherited Italian citizenship from his Australian-born mother through his Italian grandparents, was allowed to stay in Parliament. Unlike in the house, the ineligible senators' seats will be given to another member of their parties, leaving balance of power in the Senate unchanged.

In both cases, the lawmaker was born overseas and was disqualified from Parliament. He later found he was British because his father left Cyprus while it was a British colony.

"I respect the verdict of the court", Mr Joyce told reporters in Tamworth.

Australia's constitution bars anyone from standing for parliament who "is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or citizen of a foreign power". The government argued that five of the lawmakers should still be eligible, including Joyce, because they were unaware of dual citizenship at the time of the election.

As soon as they found out, they took all reasonable steps required to sever their foreign ties, Walker said.

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