Rocked by citizenship drama, Turnbull government ponders 'nuclear option'

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Barnaby Joyce's New Zealand citizenship fiasco has been compared to one of Australia's most infamous sporting incidents, after the Labor party official at the heart of the issue was revealed to be a foemr NZ Labour staffer.

The Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce was confirmed by the New Zealand Internal Affairs minister to be a citizen of New Zealand because his father was born there.

Last month two Green senators - co-deputy leaders nonetheless - were forced to resign within a week of each other, as it transpired they held dual citizenship (under the Australian constitution a person who is a foreign national can not be elected to Parliament).

It's more than just neighborly banter: New Zealand could seriously shake things up in Canberra if the ruling coalition loses its one-seat majority as a result of Joyce being stripped of his seat.

Liberal frontbencher Michael Sukkar said it was a "serious" issue if an Australian political party was working to undermine the government. "Australian media inquiries were", Mr Dunne tweeted.

NZ Prime Minister Bill English also criticised Mr Hipkins judgement, saying he couldn't remember a time before that a New Zealand MP had involved themselves in another country's politics.

Her remarks were labelled "false claims" by NZ Labour leader Jacinda Ardern, who lodged a formal complaint with the Australian High Commission in Wellington.

"Clearly, it's absurd that a person who was born in 1967 in Australia, whose father left New Zealand in 1947, can have citizenship conferred upon him by a foreign country".

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The move would mark a dramatic escalation of the citizenship stoush that has so far seen five MPs - Nationals Barnaby Joyce and Matt Canavan, former Greens Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters, and One Nation MP Malcolm Roberts - referred to the High Court to have the validity of their election examined.

Wong conceded her staffer's actions were unwise but said they amounted to "a chat with a mate (Hipkins)" rather than a secretive attempt to bring down the government.

His citizenship case will be heard with four others in the High Court in Brisbane on August 24.

Australia-born Joyce renounced his New Zealand citizenship on Tuesday and has insisted he will stay on until the High Court determines his fate.

This happened after he admitted that he has now become ineligible to sit in the Senate for his entire tenure because he holds dual citizenship.

"Should there be a change of government, I would find it very hard to build trust with those involved in allegations created to undermine the government of Australia", Ms Bishop railed in parliament on Tuesday following the disclosure. In turn, Joyce threatened to put both the dogs down unless they were removed from the country.

"We now know there was a lot going on behind the scenes when I was waiting for that response".

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