Barnaby Joyce admits he may be a New Zealand citizen

Artillery fires during a ceremonial welcome for the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands Manasseh Damukana Sogavare

Artillery fires during a ceremonial welcome for the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands Manasseh Damukana Sogavare

Australia's deputy prime minister, Barnaby Joyce, has revealed that he may hold dual citizenship with New Zealand.

Stephanie Dalzell, an ABC reporter based at Parliament House, tweeted that Joyce told parliament he was "shocked when the NZ High Commission contacted him to advise him that he may be a citizen".

Joyce told parliament today that he had received legal advice suggesting he is eligible to serve in parliament and as a result would not be standing down as Deputy Prime Minister.

"On the basis of preliminary advice from their department of internal affairs - which had received inquiries from the New Zealand Labour Party - they considered I may be a citizen by descent of New Zealand", Mr Joyce said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has asked the deputy PM not to stand aside from his ministerial or leadership responsibilities after advice from the Solicitor General that the information would not disqualify him from serving as the Member for New England.

I was born in Australia in 1967 to an Australian mother - I think I am 5th generation.

After Joyce's statement to parliament, Malcolm Turnbull wrote to the Labor leader Bill Shorten on Monday inquiring whether or not he wanted to refer any cases of Labor MPs to the high court on the basis it would be desirable that all cases are heard at the same time.

"Neither I nor my parents have ever had any reason to believe that I may be a citizen of any other country", he said. A person does not have to register the citizenship, it comes automatically at birth.

The Nationals leader made the announcement in Parliament this morning that he will refer his own eligibility to sit to the High Court.

He noted that the concept of New Zealand and Australian citizenship was not created until 1948.

If Mr Joyce is found to be ineligible, the government - which holds a one-seat majority in the lower house - would be forced into a by-election.

"The New Zealand government has no register recognising me as a New Zealand citizen", he said.

According to section 44 of the Constitution Senators and members of Parliament are forbidden from being citizens of a country other than Australia.

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