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 a "subject or citizen of a 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 the 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.
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Mr Joyce accepted the court's decision, which he said typified the democratic values of Australia. He said: "I respect the verdict of the court. We live in a marvelous democracy. With all the checks and balances, it has given us all the freedoms we see. I thank the court for their deliberations." He added: "The decision of the court today is clearly not the outcome we were hoping for, but the business of government goes on." Many Australians believe the dual citizenship laws should be changed. The latest census in Australia shows that 28 per cent of Australians were born overseas. Many more have a family history going back generations that would entitle them to claim dual citizenship.