THE High Court will hand down its highly anticipated decisions on the seven members of federal parliament over dual citizenship disputes, at 2.15pm this Friday.
The list of members facing potential disqualification for breaching constitutional eligibility rules includes Federal Agriculture and Water Resources Minister Barnaby Joyce.
Mr Joyce revealed he had NZ citizenship due to his father being born there, in a speech to the Lower House in mid-August.
Nationals deputy-leader and NSW Senator Fiona Nash is also in the firing line due to dual Scottish citizenship along with former cabinet minister and Queensland Nationals Senator Matthew Canavan for his links to Italian heritage.
Mr Joyce has been under intense pressure over the citizenship dispute with his arch political rival Tony Windsor also involved in the High Court challenge given he ran against him at last year’s election and may face him again, if a by-election is held in the Nationals leaders’ seat of New England, in regional NSW.
Labor Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen said his party had plans on how it would tackle Mr Joyce’s potential disqualification but would not agree to vote for a suspension of parliament while a by-election was run.
Mr Bowen said the opposition would respond to the circumstances on Friday.
“It’s not my place to announce what our approach will be, but we will be ready for that eventuality,” he said.
Mr Bowen said Labor “didn’t create this circumstance of instability” and the Deputy Prime Minister “didn’t bother to do his homework and his checks before he nominated for parliament”.
“I don’t think the government can come looking to the Labor Party, looking for soft treatment if one of their members, let alone the Deputy Prime Minister is out of action because they misunderstood the law and the National Party in particular has got a lot to answer here,” he said.
“I mean their leader and their deputy-leader have very real questions to answer and we will know on Friday whether they are ineligible or not.
“We will vote on the legislation and the matters before the parliament according to our views.
“If the government is one vote short, that is a matter of government incompetence.”
National party sources claim Mr Joyce would extend his lead in New England, at a by-election, and have recent polling figures to back their claim.