Australia's Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has been disqualified from his governmental position because he held dual citizenship when he was elected. He was one of five politicians who were deemed as being incorrectly elected because they held two passports and were thus dual citizens. They were ineligible because they were "subject or citizen of foreign power". Australia's constitution prohibits dual nationals from being elected. Mr Joyce's departure has put pressure on Australia's ruling National Party, which now has just 75 seats in 150-seat House of Representatives. Mr Joyce could return to office by running in a by-election after he renounced his New Zealand citizenship in August.
Mr Joyce accepted court's decision, which he said typified democratic values of Australia. He said: "I respect the verdict of court. We live in marvelous democracy. With all checks and balances, it has given us all freedoms we see. I thank court for their deliberations." He added: "The decision of court today is clearly not outcome we were hoping for, but business of government goes on." Many Australians believe dual citizenship laws should be changed. The latest census in Australia shows that 28 per cent of Australians were born overseas. Many more have family history going back generations that would entitle them to claim dual citizenship.