FRIDAY, October 27, at exactly 2.15pm, is D-Day for Barnaby Joyce and his fellow “citizenship seven”.
The court will at that time announce if the New England MP has breached the Australian constitution, which would force him to stand down with the electorate going into a by-election.
If Mr Joyce is disqualified the earliest a by-election could be held is December 2, which would mean the government would go into a full sitting week without holding the balance of power.
Section 44 of the constitution states anyone who holds a dual citizenship is ineligible to stand in parliament. In August, it was revealed Mr Joyce inherited New Zealand citizenship through his father, who was born in New Zealand.
He has since formally renounced his dual citizenship.
The High Court heard the arguments for and against the seven politicians from October 10 to 12, and has been weighing the arguments ever since.
Mr Joyce’s Tamworth-based legal team, Everingham Solomons, said the Deputy Prime Minister’s case rested on asking the court to apply a more liberal interpretation of the word citizen.
“Foreign laws determine if you’re a dual citizen,” Everingham Solomons associate Clint Coles said.
“In not every case should we be applying the laws of a foreign country, we have to apply our own interpretation of whether they have acted in a way that makes them seem to be a citizen of a foreign country.
Last week, Mr Joyce told The Leader he was enduring “an anxious wait, it would be ridiculous to say anything else”.
“I’m hoping the decision either way is made as quickly as possible, so we know exactly what we're off to next,” he said.
“If it goes against us, we go to a by-election straight away. If it goes with us, we just get back to work.”
Mr Joyce said he was prepared to face voters again “but we won’t get ahead of ourselves, we’ll stay humble and let people make up their own mind.”
On Friday, the High Court will also announce its ruling for former Greens senators Larissa Waters and Scott Ludlam (who have both stepped down), One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts, Nationals senators Fiona Nash and Matt Canavan, and Senator Nick Xenophon, who has already stepped down from his position to run in the South Australian state election.