Senator Matt Canavan lives to fight another day after today's High Court ruling.
Senator Matt Canavan lives to fight another day after today's High Court ruling. Leighton Smith

UPDATED: Canavan's emotional statement after High Court decision

Update 3pm: AFTER this afternoon's dramatic High Court dual-citizenship verdict deciding the fate of the 'citizenship seven', Rockhampton's Senator Matt Canavan has released a statement.

Senator Canavan said he welcomed today's High Court for its decision but was gutted for his colleagues Barnaby Joyce and Fiona Nash.

"I know that both Barnaby and Fiona will bounce back and they have enviable records as Members of Parliament,” Mr Canavan said.

Nationals former deputy leader Fiona Nash and former leader Barnaby Joyce.
Nationals former deputy leader Fiona Nash and former leader Barnaby Joyce. Alina Rylko

"Although I have remained active in the past few months, I look forward to getting stuck back in to delivering long-term results for all Queenslanders.

"I have not lost my passion to develop Central Queensland and Northern Australia, and support the jobs and wealth that we derive from the hard-working people of our resources sector.

"If anything, this experience has only strengthened my resolve to fight for those things that will make people's lives better like a secure job, a loving family and a safe Australia.”

Mr Canavan thanked his staff for their commitment and discipline over the past few months.

"They have had a difficult and uncertain time but have shown great reserves of character to see this through,” he said.

"My family has been a constant support. Spouses are often innocently hit by collateral damage from politics and I owe my wife a debt I can never repay for her steadfast support and love.”

The photo Barnaby posted to instagram with Matt Canavan, Matt's wife Andrea and baby Elizabeth
The photo Barnaby posted to instagram with Matt Canavan, Matt's wife Andrea and baby Elizabeth Zhanae Conway-Dodd

See bottom for High Court explanation for ruling.

Initial Report:

THE highly anticipated High Court dual-citizenship verdict was handed down this afternoon, deciding the fate of the 'citizenship seven' members of parliament, including Rockhampton's Senator Matt Canavan.

In a stunning decision, the High Court decided to disqualify Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, Deputy Nationals leader Fiona Nash, One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts, former Greens senators Larissa Waters and Scott Ludlam.

Rockhampton-based senator Canavan is safe, as is senator Nick Xenophon.

With this successful High Court decision, Mr Canavan will now remain in parliament and is expected to return to his place in cabinet and the ministerial responsibilities he walked away from in July.

The Nationals Queensland senator Canavan was born in Australia and elected to the senate for Queensland 2013.

He became entangled in complicated Italian citizenship law which conferred onto him Italian citizenship through his mother's family after a law change when he was two years old.

He resigned as Resources Minister over the dual-citizenship conflict, which came to light in July, and has since renounced his Italian citizenship.

During the High Court case, the basis of his arguments were ignorance and relevancy of another nation's laws.

CLEARED: Senator Matt Canavan's future looks bright.
CLEARED: Senator Matt Canavan's future looks bright. Leighton Smith

Senator Canavan's barrister David Bennett argued that he did not know about his citizenship conflict and could not be in breach and that another nation's law change should not have bearing on his eligibility as he did not voluntarily act to receive that citizenship.

Mr Bennett also said an "unlimited Italian citizenship chain” could pose big problems making it very hard for someone several generations down the chain to know they had a dual citizenship conflict of interest if no-one in a family line renounced their status.

In the wake of the dual citizenship debacle and today's High Court decision, Sky News has revealed that the Turnbull government was considering changes to the Citizenship Act.

Presently under section 44 of the constitution, an MP was ineligible to sit in parliament if they were a dual citizen of another country.

It is understood that the Attorney-General was considering changes that would prohibit foreign countries from conferring citizenship on Australian MPs without their knowledge or consent.

These proposed changes would not apply retrospectively to sitting MPs but may protect future MPs from falling foul of the provisions.

Constitutional experts have said the laws could be subject to legal challenge if they appeared to be in breach of the constitution.

With Joyce now found ineligible, the Turnbull government will have 75 lower house seats, making it more likely to lose house votes unless the Coalition retains Joyce's seat against a likely run by former independent MP Tony Windsor.

If necessary, the soonest a by-election in New England could be held is 2 December.

This would not be in time for the next session of parliament which is scheduled for 27 November playing havoc with the government's one-seat majority

Probable replacements for members ruled ineligible:

Barnaby Joyce - his fate would be decided at a byelection in his seat of New England

Fiona Nash - replaced by Hollie Hughes

Larissa Waters - replaced by Andrew Bartlett

Scott Ludlam - replaced by Jordon Steele-John

Nick Xenophon's resignation will spark a casual vacancy.

Malcolm Roberts - replaced by Fraser Anning - Malcolm Roberts has announced he's going to stand for One Nation in the seat of Ipswich in the upcoming Queensland election.

One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts will try his hand at state politics after being ruled ineligible to sit in the Australian Senate.
One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts will try his hand at state politics after being ruled ineligible to sit in the Australian Senate. REGI VARGHESE

Excerpt from the High Court Ruling as it related to Senator Canavan:

"They conclude that the more reasonable interpretation of Italian law, in line with the adoption of the "subjective conception of citizenship” under the Italian Constitution, is that the administrative steps described in the circolare (which are expressed to apply to applicants for Italian citizenship arising from events before the commencement of the law of 1992) are matters of substance, amounting to a prerequisite to the "potential” citizenship right being activated.”

"Senator Canavan has not applied for a declaration of Italian citizenship. On the evidence before the Court, one cannot be satisfied that Senator Canavan was a citizen of Italy. The concluding section of the joint report suggests that he was not. Given the potential for Italian citizenship by descent to extend indefinitely - generation after generation - into the public life of an adopted home, one can readily accept that the reasonable view of Italian law is that it requires the taking of the positive steps referred to in the joint report as conditions precedent to citizenship. For these reasons, the first question, namely, whether, by reason of s 44(i) of the Constitution, there is a vacancy in the representation of Queensland in the Senate for the place for which Senator Canavan was returned, is answered "no”.”



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