Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Europe

Turnbull ‘satisfied’ Coalition MPs in the clear after Joyce wins by-election

Related Story: 'Utterly humbled' Joyce declares victory in New England by-electionRelated Story: Joyce 'confident, not cocky' in New England by-election

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said he is "satisfied" no more of his MPs will be forced from Parliament because of dual citizenship.

Key points:

  • Malcolm Turnbull says he's "satisfied" no more of his MPs will be forced from Parliament over dual citizenship concerns
  • He says the Government will use its numbers to refer Labor MPs to the High Court
  • Mr Turnbull also confirms he wants the same-sex marriage bill amended to protect celebrants and charities

Barnaby Joyce last night won the New England by-election, called after the former deputy prime minister was disqualified from Parliament for being a dual citizen.

Coalition members will see the win as a boost for the Federal Government, ahead of the Bennelong by-election on December 16.

Mr Joyce's win will increase the Government's numbers in the Lower House to 75, but the citizenship saga is still playing out.

Politicians will this week declare information about their citizenship and parents' background as part of a new disclosure regime.

"Based on the reports we've had from our members and senators, we're satisfied there are no further issues arising from our side of the house," Mr Turnbull told Sky News.

"There are plainly a number on the Labor side [who] should be referred to the High Court."

Labor MPs Justine Keay, Josh Wilson and Susan Lamb all have British heritage and are in doubt.

Mr Turnbull has confirmed the Government will use its numbers to send Opposition MPs to the High Court.

"We can't in good conscience fail to refer anyone … to the High Court if it is clear there are substantial grounds for believing that they are ineligible to sit in the Parliament," he said.

"This is an acid test of [Labor leader Bill Shorten's] integrity.

"They are very likely to be found ineligible by the High Court."

Barnaby Joyce with his arms in the air in excitement, Malcolm Turnbull stands beside him.

PM seeking same-sex marriage bill amendments

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister confirmed he wants the same-sex marriage bill amended to protect celebrants and charities.

The Senate last week passed a bill to legalise same-sex marriage and it will be debated in the Lower House over the coming days.

Mr Turnbull said celebrants who object to same-sex unions should not have to marry gay and lesbian couples.

And he said religious charities, such as the St Vincent de Paul society, should have their charitable status reaffirmed.

"No-one could ever reasonably, sensibly, rationally suggest that because it's a Catholic charity, and its leadership believe in Catholic teaching on matters of faith and morality, including marriage, that it should lose its charitable status," he said.

"A lot of the amendments that we're talking about … are really providing assurance that unintended consequences are not going to occur."

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