Immigration

Greens support will give Turnbull the numbers to refer Labor MPs to the High Court

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The Greens have offered to support any vote to refer MPs facing dual-citizenship questions to the High Court, giving the Coalition the numbers to refer a group of Labor MPs without Bill Shorten’s approval.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale has said the party’s only member in the Lower House, Adam Bandt, is all-but-certain to vote in favour of referring a group of Labor MPs to the High Court over their Constitutional eligibility.

With Coalition members John Alexander and Barnaby Joyce fighting by-elections, the government will need the support of the Greens to win a majority vote on the issue.

“If the Government or the Labor Party refer individuals to the High Court, we'll support all of those referrals,” Mr Di Natale said.

The House of Representatives is due to sit again in a fortnight on November 27.

On Friday, Mr Di Natale described speculation about the possible dual-citizenships of Labor’s Justine Keay, Susan Lamb, Madeleine King and Josh Wilson as “legitimate questions that should be resolved by the High Court”.

Justine Keay has admitted she may have technically been a British citizen during the last election, despite taking steps to renounce it nearly two months earlier.

So far in the citizenship saga, every referral to the High Court has been endorsed by the party of the MP involved.

But defence industry minister Christopher Pyne repeated the government’s threat to break from that tradition.

“If their party won’t refer them then the parliament will do so,” Mr Pyne told ABC Radio on Monday.

“We can’t have Bill Shorten protecting his members from being referred to the High Court.”

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Bill Shorten addresses Labor caucus noting Coalition chaos
Bill Shorten addresses Labor caucus noting Coalition chaos

Labor’s Penny Wong said the Labor members had all taken clear steps to renounce their foreign citizenships and accused the government of engaging in “partisan thuggery”. 

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