The High Court just dropped the mother of all bombshells, ruling that five MPs were ineligible for Parliament including Nationals Leader and Deputy PM, Barnaby Joyce.
The news means that the Turnbull Government has lost its narrow majority of 76 seats in the lower house, and Joyce will need to win a byelection in the seat of New England to return to Parliament.
The High Court handed down its decision on the “citizenship seven”, shortly after 2:15pm this afternoon, separating the group into those who were ineligible to be elected, and those who were not.
Along with Joyce, it ruled that Nationals Senator, Fiona Nash and One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts were also ineligible to be elected, as well as former Greens senators Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters. The latter two stepped down from their roles after learning they held dual citizenship earlier this year.
However the court ruled that cross-bench Senator Nick Xenophon as well as former Nationals Senator, Matt Canavan were in the clear and were validly elected despite prior doubts.
Mr Joyce said he respected the verdict but apologised to his electorate this afternoon for the inconvenience of by-election.
“I was always prepared for this outcome. I don’t actually stand here totally surprised,” he said.
“I always expected that this was going to be a tough game.”
Tough game indeed, when Tony Windsor’s champing at the bit for another bite of the New England cherry.
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) October 27, 2017