Australian government under threat after Deputy PM's citizenship row

"They in turn advised the High Commissioner in Canberra, who broke the delightful news to Mr Joyce.as I understand it, it was either late Thursday evening or Friday morning our time that Mr Joyce was informed".

Two years after the Australian deputy prime minister threatened to put down her dogs, the American actress poked fun at Joyce following the revelation that he was also a New Zealand citizen.

The issue has turned into a political fight in New Zealand five weeks out from the September 23 election, with NZ prime minister Bill English accusing Hipkins of interfering in Australian politics.

While Australia and New Zealand, both being former British colonies, have a close relationship historically, the scandal highlights the complexities of citizenship in a country that is arguably one of the most multicultural in the world: Australia is the country with the second-highest percentage of the population born overseas, after Saudi Arabia.

Her cabinet minister Christopher Pyne accused the Labor opposition of stooping to new lows.

The High Court ruling on whether Mr Joyce is a dual citizen - and therefore if he is eligible to serve in Parliament - could prompt a by-election in his New England electorate, around Tamworth in northern NSW.

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FOREIGN Minister Julie Bishop has doubled down on her criticism of Labor's role in Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce's dual citizenship debacle, questioning whether Senator Penny Wong is fit for office after it emerged Labor's foreign affairs spokeswoman's chief of staff raised the issue with NZ Labour.

"I challenge anyone in this place to say they would not have done the same", he told parliament.

The Turnbull government is threatening to refer a group of Labor MPs to the High Court if they refuse to provide evidence they were validly elected with only Australian citizenship.

Another week, another three MPs positions in question over the citizenship status.

"Despite longstanding agreements which are supposed to give us special rights, New Zealanders seeking a better life in Australia have not been made to feel welcome".

"It is a matter for the Australian system to decide how Australian law applies in his case and how they deal with this issue", he told reporters.

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Ms Bishop ignited a diplomatic row when she queried whether the Turnbull government could build sufficient trust in NZ Labour if it won power in next month's election. "We have got a good relationship".

Bishop was referring to two questions lodged in the New Zealand parliament by Labour lawmaker Chris Hipkins, who asked whether children born in Australia to a New Zealand father automatically had New Zealand citizenship.

Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne said the situation was extraordinary and everyone was clearly running around trying to figure out who to blame.

The minister reiterated the first inquiries came from Australian media.

"If the High Court took a particularly generous interpretation of this, it might curb the eligibility problems of the senators and MPs, but that's a hard thing to do given. the section is quite clear", he said. She called the questions inappropriate.

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