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Federal

Oct 13, 2017

What next for the Citizenship Seven?

As the conclusion of the Magnificent Citizenship Seven saga approaches, who will make it through the gunfire, and who will fall?

Sally Whyte — Political reporter

Sally Whyte

Political reporter

The High Court is now deliberating on the futures of the “Citizenship Seven” after arguments wrapped up yesterday, but predicting what will happen next is not black and white. Whatever the court rules, it’s unlikely that it will mean all in, all out. And it gets more complicated from there — some senators have already resigned, some plan on coming back and some face replacements who aren’t even from their own party. So, with the full knowledge that the High Court is yet to make a decision, what would happen next for each of the Seven if they are found to have not been eligible for a seat in Parliament in the first place? Does that mean they are goneski? Or is it back in a jiffy?

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16 comments

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16 thoughts on “What next for the Citizenship Seven?

  1. zut alors

    I have to agree with Matt Canavan about the importance of being a father of five.

    There’s no doubt he would make a more valuable contribution as a parent than he ever will as a senator.

    1. rhonaj

      Couldn’t agree more!

      1. klewso

        Put the country and your family first Matt – resign from the senate – for a start we can’t afford your subsidising Adani with our money.

  2. Pedantic, Balwyn

    Whatever the decision of the High Court the inescapable fact is that all seven have failed miserably to ensure that they complied with the protocols for admission to Parliament, set by the Constitution; although Larissa Waters could be an exception. As far as is understood the Labor Party (on this occasion) went to some lengths to ensure that their parliamentarians complied with the legislation, which raises the questions of why the other Parties were so lax or incompetent and why should we allow any of them back to run the country.

    1. CML

      Absolutely correct, PB…chuck them all out and start again.
      If they can’t successfully fill out a bloody form, none of them should be in the federal parliament

      1. IanG

        Indeed – would be lawmakers who can’t even comply with the law relating to their own election! What chance their other legislative endeavours?

  3. cp

    As the runner up, I thought Tony Windsor was going to make a legal claim to Joyces seat if Joyce’s shown to be an illegal?

    1. MJM

      The legal arguments were put by Justin Gleason (C’wealth Solicitor General until he gave advice that Brandis did not like) on behalf of Windsor to the High Court on Wednesday. The friend Amicus curiae) of the court spoke on Thursday morning to the full bench and basically supported some of Gleason’s arguments about eligibility at the time of the election.

      It is more likely that the High Court will require a re-run of the election than give it to Windsor. I see in Saturday’s Fairfax Press that Joyce is likely to face a huge field in any by-election.

  4. John Hall

    I am betting two lumps of coal on Malcolm Roberts going to the Furnace. One Nation senators tend to implode early – thanks to Pauline Hanson’s amazing managerial expertise.

    1. MJM

      Sat in the High Court hearings on Thursday. I think your bet is safe. Roberts’s lawyer made many arguments but the seven judges looked unimpressed, asked the barrister to hurry up and seemed to question his arguments. Given the court has already declared that Roberts was ineligible at 2 July last year can’t see him surviving at all.

  5. brian crooks

    looks like for a change the rats are reluctant to leave the sinking ship, malcolm ( the rodent ) roberts looks to be gone and hates leaving all that free cheese behind, mother rat pauline could`nt give a rats because there`s plenty of one nation rodents queued up for the free cheese in the senate cheese factory, barnyard joyce has probably been on the phone already to Gina to get a job application form form just in case, canavan will make the high court an offer that can`t refuse so he`ll be right, fiona will probably go to gina and big mining if all else fails and the greens will be left hanging for the vultures to feast on, in the meantime turdballs down in the titanics hold checking the pumps and water level which is already over his head and dutton is swinging out the lifeboats and plotting a course for bernadi land, so alls well as mal swings the wheel with a lot of help from first mate abbott, got to make sure they dont miss that iceberg.

  6. Robert Garnett

    The High Court would, in my view be derelict, in its duties if it did NOT find all of the seven ineligible to remain in Parliament.

    I base this on the following:

    1. The constitution forms the basis of eligibility for parliament. The framers had reasons for this particular requirement. It is reasonable speculation that this provision related to parliamentary representatives being required to have singular loyalty to the Commonwealth of Australia. Given the difficulty in determining such loyalty this provision makes a lot of sense by avoiding the obvious potential disloyalty occasioned by dual citizenship. It is important issue. The notion that a person is ignorant of their ineligibility is no reason to create a precedent whereby anybody who claims they have no knowledge of their non-compliance gets off with it. There are many foreigners who wish to have undue influence in the Australian political system. This provision keeps them out. As a number of the group has demonstrated a lot of harm can be occasioned by people who claim undivided loyalty to Australians.

    2. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, although it may be mitigation against harsher punishment in some ordinary crime. It is hard to see how ignorance of a fundamental provision of our constitution could be overlooked by those who claim to represent the constitution in parliament would provide mitigation. Any mitigation in the face of gross negligence can be expected to be fairly light. In any case ineligibility for parliament is not a crime with punishment and therefore the notion of mitigation through ignorance would seem to a reasonable person to be irrelevant. They either breached the constitution or they didn’t.

    3. Governments, except in the case of non-natural persons in the form of corporations, are extremely parsimonious and brutal when punishing Australian citizens who breach the acts of parliament that they create. It is had to see therefore, that parliamentarians who through their negligence have breached the constitution should get special consideration. Parliamentarians see themselves, and are often seen by others as being exceptional. The idea of parliamentary democracy is government of the people, by the people, so we need to be very careful about the attribution to much exceptionalism to them. If we do, we are acknowledging that we are governed by exceptional elites. It would be a very delusional person who believed that.

    4. Mitigation might provide some relief for the constitutional breachers, such as whether they have to pay back the salaries and benefits they have received whilst operating outside of the law. Again one can use the precedence of how minor tax avoiders get treated by the ATO under the legislation that is provided by those same parliamentarians. I will leave it to the reader to ascertain the level of mercy that should be provided by the High Court in its deliberation on this issue.

    1. Gerald Thompson

      some breaches of law are not deemed an offence until they have been subject to a judicial process. Failure to comply with section 44 of the Constitution may be one of them. Some of the Citizenship Seven may have taken office without reasonable knowledge of their ineligibility. And don’t forget that when the Constitution was drafted, there was no such thing as an Australian Citizen. We were all British Subjects. Let us not speculate on the outcome.

      1. Robert Garnett

        I think that what happened before the constitution was drafted is irrelevant to what happened after it was drafted. The fact of it’s drafting and it’s acceptance, changes the legal landscape. The rules of citizenship pre-constitution are rendered null and void by the constitution. The idea that we were all British subjects is erroneous for those people who weren’t born under the empire, and by the way the British empire was taken over by the USA after the WWII so perhaps that makes us US citizens. The UK is only the USA’s “junior partner” a view expressed by the UK foreign office after the war.

        If what you are saying is, that once a person is naturalized they become a British as well as Australian citizen then that would probably mean nobody would be eligible for parliament. We are not British subjects in ANY practical sense. If we were we could all get a British passport, we would be ellegible for the British Pension etc etc. We do have the British Queen as our head of state, however she has very wisely delegated her powers under the constitution to our Governor General and I think our constitution confers this power on the GG.

        People born in Australia are Australian citizens, they are not British.

        And by the wasn’t I wasn’t speculating I was expressing my view of the situation as is my democratic right.

        When the high court publishes their determination of this matter I shall download and read their reasons and should their findings be contrary to my view and their arguments convince me I shall change my view.

        I will not change my view simply because they say so, as in the case where I do not agree with a number of the of the more egregious determinations made by Barwick et al when he head of the High Court.

        Sadly however it will not be my opinion that matters although I usually find I agree with the High Court. Since Barwick they have provided excellent service to Australia by there determination of the matters that have come before them.

        And another thing why shouldn’t we speculate about the way we are governed. Democracy isn’t just about turning up to to the ballot box every three years, it should be about active thought and participation. I know the elites who own everything don’t like the idea of us poor people having a say, but they can get stuffed as far as I’m concerned.

  7. Itsarort

    Akira Kuwosawa would be rolling around in his grave at, “…who will make it through the gunfire…”. I think what you really mean Sally is, “…who will get the chop”.

    1. Dion Giles

      A big problem to the judges with the LNP government hanging on their verdict. How will they manage in spite of the constitution to remain true to their class?