Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Economy

A ‘Contradictor’ – The Club – and the Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce

First published September 2

I have some experience in the matter of politicians and citizenship for as a private individual I have taken Senator Eric Abetz to the High Court sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns. This case forced Abetz to renounce his German citizenship by Certification immediately prior to the 2010 election and as a result I withdrew. (Download below …)

The Parliament functions as a Club, accessed by chance and with entry controlled by the privileged few. Once elected to the Club a Member is protected, when politically possible, from public humiliation for it is in the interests of them all.

For example, in this context when the Greens requested a proper audit of nomination forms and qualifications for all sitting Members this was immediately opposed by both major parties – for Labor has as much to lose as the Liberals. The public is not aware that there are severe criminal penalties for offences under the Australian Electoral Act relating to the signing of the Nomination Form which provides the initial access to the Club.

Presumably the penalties are high because the Nomination Form is self-policed by the applicant and our Founding Fathers foresaw trouble when those nominating are not liable to the checks and balances of a normal job application. Brandis spoke out against the two Greens’ Senators who resigned from the Senate over dual citizenship suggesting that they repay their salaries and entitlements. This dangerous precedent would have affected others of his persuasion, such as the Deputy Prime Minister now before the High Court, so the subject was never mentioned again.

Electoral Offences

The major offences in force for the purposes of federal elections are listed in the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, and from 24 May 2001 in the revised general offence provisions of the Criminal Code.

The Criminal Code is a Schedule to the Criminal Code Act 1995. There are more than 60 electoral offences, and these may change over time as Parliament amends the relevant Acts:

For a full account of all electoral offences the latest reprint of the Act, and the Criminal Code Act, must be consulted with the benefit of legal counsel where necessary.

I have extracted for consideration:

forging any enrolment or electoral papers, maximum penalty: 10 years imprisonment (Division 144 of the Criminal Code);

making any false or misleading statement in any enrolment or electoral papers, maximum penalty: 12 months

imprisonment (Division 136 & 137 of the Criminal Code)

Punishments

For a false declaration, in fact or particulars therein, so signed and declared, that one is/was compliant with S44(i), explicitly, as an ‘Eligible’ candidate to stand for election.

If so charged, and found guilty, or under charge, or under sentence for said offence, as detailed above, renders the candidate or sitting Member Incapable of standing for election, or continuing to sit in the Parliament or Senate … until acquitted.

Actual conviction re the above offence renders the offender incapable of standing as a candidate for election, or Sitting in the Parliament or Senate, for the term of their natural lives.

Each conviction, for each election declaration, faces a maximum penalty of up to 12 months imprisonment.

The Act seemingly does not allow for fines or other penalties.

For fraudulent enrolment or voting offences:

… forging any enrolment or electoral papers, maximum penalty: 10 years imprisonment (Division 144 of the Criminal Code);

… making any false or misleading statement in any enrolment or electoral papers, maximum penalty: 12 months imprisonment (Division 136 & 137 of the Criminal Code)

Source: Australian Electoral Commission (AEC)

Penalty for sitting when disqualified.

Until the Parliament otherwise provides, any person declared by this Constitution to be incapable of sitting as a senator or as a member of the House of Representatives shall, for every day on which he so sits, be liable to pay the sum of one hundred pounds to any person who sues for it in any court of competent jurisdiction.

Source: Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act – Sect 46

The Nomination Form

In October the High Court will deliberate on the problems of underestimating the importance of this Nomination Form dot point clauses which were interestingly reworded between elections under the auspices of Senator Abetz then Special Minister of State 2001 – 2006:

For 1998

I am capable of being chosen and sitting as a Senator (because I am not disqualified by virtue of Section 44 of the Constitution – see reverse side)

For 2004 after Abetz as the Minister had the clause amended:

I am by virtue of Section 44 of the Constitution capable of being chosen or sitting as a Senator

This makes this particular clause far less demanding and more difficult to prosecute before the High Court, and poses the question:

Why would Senator Abetz oversee this important change from “I am not disqualified” to “capable of being chosen”?

The instruction now contained in the Candidates’ Handbook, 2013,

Page 18

You are required to sign a declaration on the nomination form that you are qualified under the Constitution and the laws of the Commonwealth to be elected to the Commonwealth Parliament.

If you have any doubts as to your qualifications under the Constitution, the AEC recommends you seek your own legal advice. The AEC does not provide legal advice to prospective candidates.

Page 20

It is against the law to include false or misleading information in a nomination form. Giving false or misleading information is a serious offence. In addition, you must not omit any information if omitting that information would be misleading. The maximum penalty for this offence is imprisonment for 12 months.

I suggest that any candidate, before the High Court or not, who was born overseas and/or who has at least a parent who was born overseas, should have paid particular attention to this clause as the matter is self-policing, and non-compliance is a criminal offence.

When referring the current Citizenship matter to the High Court, the Federal Government had not allowed for the appearance of a “Contradictor” such as Tony Windsor.

This, I suggest, is a bad mistake by Brandis because Windsor is no longer a member of the Club and as a result is not easily controlled.

The “Contradictor” will be in a position to vigorously oppose the claims of Barnaby Joyce before the High Court, rather than the Government putting his case without comment or contradiction.

As contradictor, Windsor may suggest areas for the Court’s consideration that would otherwise be ignored or buried.

To demonstrate that ignorance of the law by a candidate is not a defence.

That the candidate has no entitlement to leniency.

The candidate may be asked if he had read and understood the requirements of the document he was about to sign.

Ask the candidate to acknowledge that he had legally ascertained that he complied with s44(i) and to tender the advice.

To question and check the authenticity of that document.

Ask the candidate if he understood that his signature removed the defence of ignorance and laid him open to criminal charges.

Most importantly, why did the candidate fail to resign once informed of doubt over their citizenship, and further does the candidate understand that under the law this action incurs a punishment?

The consequences of ownership and/or failure to surrender a passport of another country when gaining Australian citizenship.

Penalties, as enforced by Centrelink under the laws created by Parliament, should be applied with equal force to our errant pollies.

The Government will argue that the Parliament is seeking to prevent costs and inconvenience to electors and to prevent the electorate from being defrauded. This is of no consequence as it is the law that has been broken, and in the case of Joyce possibly at least twice, if he has knowingly continued to sit in the Parliament.

I suggest that Senator Brandis and his recently appointed Solicitor General thought that on referring the cases to the High Court the Government could ensure that they could be pushed through on the Government’s advice – the Prime Minister even making this a statement of fact.

Parliament has decided that failure to comply with s 44(i) is a criminal offence therefore the punishments the Parliament has laid down must be applied.

Any candidate can be charged, not just the successful ones.

Why, up to now, has the Constitutional penalty of imprisonment for sitting members seemingly been waived?

Electors are entitled to have the law legislated by Parliament enforced. Windsor can demand that, subject to the finding of the Court, it is.

If it is, and Joyce is found to have committed an Electoral Offence under the Crimes Act, then he is subject to a criminal punishment under a crime of commission, not omission, under Divisions 136, 137, 144 of the Federal Criminal Code.

If the High Court ignores the issue then this would indicate that the Court is willing to ignore the deterrent to criminal behaviour as enshrined in the laws passed by Parliament.

This is why the appearance of Windsor, as the “Contradictor”, changes the Brandis / Turnbull political game to a contest.

Of interest regarding Joyce is that if it is found that he has not been legally elected then prima facie he has committed a crime punishable only with a term of imprisonment. How is it that the Turnbull government is proposing that Joyce can immediately stand again for re-election?

I am putting this up for discussion on Tasmanian Times and I’m hoping for considered contributions and corrections from both Jon Sumby and Garry Stannus.

After revision I will send the end document to Tony Windsor.

John Hawkins

30 Aug 2017

Download …

Final_JBH_vs_EA_10_Sep_2010.pdf

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22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. garrystannus@hotmail.com

    September 15, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    Thanks, John (#21): I too, am interested in Joyce and Abetz, though moreso in the latter.

    I remember hearing of Eric Abetz quite a few years ago, when he first arrived on the political scene. I can’t remember what the issue was that first got my attention, but I remember him as being in the category of an arriviste politico … a new pollie on the block. I try not to make fun of people’s names, so I hope readers will understand that I’m not doing so now, yet I must say that for some time his name confused me. You see, I was involved in the ‘Decade of Landcare’ … ‘back in the day’, and – apart from crack willow – there is another common weed that we were concerned with at the time, up here in the Liffey, which was well known and remains here and there quite visible at this time of the year: It’s known commonly as ‘European heath’ and is known also by its species name of erica. I wondered, when I first heard mention of Eric Abetz, who this Erica Betts might be. You see, I’m not the fastest* sheep in the paddock. I see myself as more like the tortoise plodding, not even aware of the hare. When I finally joined the dots, years had passed and he had become the apparent maestro within the Liberal fold, here in Tas. Lots of other water had passed under the bridge, and I was still trying hard to disengage, to drop out from those ‘Castles in the Air’, the diversionary government structures which under the banner of consultation, tend to engage and neuter community input. A bit like ‘Yes Minister’…

    But along came John … Gay, that is: John of the Pulp Mill, John with his ‘Pulp Mill in the Air’. That’s another story, I suppose, but it got me reluctantly back into the fray. I’m decidedly of a green-left frame of mind. As far as Tony Windsor is concerned, I don’t know if I like him more for his personality or for his politics. I like him. I like the sound of his voice, the way he expresses himself and would listen to him any day of the week. He seems fair dinkum nice, intelligent and all the rest of it. On the balance of social issues, I still like him. I don’t understand why Barnaby is the Deputy Leader: is Barnaby another example of how mavericks and firebrands sometimes soften as they begin climbing those slippery ladders? I’d rather see Windsor in place of Joyce and so I will keep my fingers crossed on the Contradictor regaining his place. Interesting, isn’t it: the difference between state and Commonwealth constitutions. Joyce, according to my understanding, would have had no trouble in standing for the Legislative Council seat of Western Tiers in which I lived** – there is no citizenship requirement at a state level (as far as I’ve seen) and in a way that’s curious.

    Please forgive my Saturday ramblings, but nurse left me out in the sun and I’m afraid I became rather light-headed. [‘That’s a joke, Joyce!*** (grin)]

    *(I hope fellow readers liked my adaption of that still-loved Aussie country descriptive: a ‘few sheep missing in the top paddock’ i.e. ‘not too bright’)
    ** Western Tiers (a recent name) has apparently been re-thingoed and now I’m in another LC seat. It means I’ll miss out getting a vote on the Legislative Council for a further several years… hope I live long enough till I one day get a say.
    *** “It’s a joke, Joyce’- a popular (sardonic/aussie) witticism during my salad days.

  2. John Hawkins

    September 11, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    Dear Garry,

    I wrote a detailed reply and somehow it has vanished into the ether so here I go again.

    Firstly thankyou so much for your valued input.

    This most complex subject has many variations and nuances regarding each and every one of those about to appear before the High Court.

    My interest here is in Joyce and Abetz.

    Abetz, because as the minister he oversaw the changing of the wording of section 44(i) from: “I am capable of being chosen and sitting……” to the less onerous, “I am by virtue of section 44 (i)…..” as quoted above in bold.

    Why would Abetz take this step, and will it provide an escape route for the High Court and Joyce?

    I suggest that Windsor requests as evidence the tendering of Joyce’s birth certificate.

    This birth certificate must give the place of birth and date of birth of his father.

    Then Joyce has to state in evidence that he was unaware of any possibility of his gaining dual nationality.

    If this document can be considered as proof that he was aware, or should have been, why did he not take the appropriate steps as required by section 44(i)to renounce his NZ citizenship which can only be granted through the male line?

    This evidence is, I suggest, the nub for Joyce of knowing and intentional.

    I suggest that Joyce was of the opinion that nobody would ask about his citizenship, a busy man, and it was all too difficult to sort out, and that this was a risk he was prepared to take.

    Division 136 and 137 would I suggest then trap Joyce.

    His country bumpkin thinking will have come back to bite him.

  3. garrystannus@hotmail.com

    September 5, 2017 at 2:32 am

    John, I’ve checked out the Australian Criminal Code 1995 which the AEC’s Candidate’s Handbook mentions in relation to the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918. You mentioned Divisions 136, 137 and 144 of that Criminal Code. Let me just briefly comment on each of them:

    Division 136: A person commits an offence if in an application they knowingly state something false or misleading, or knowingly omit in an application any matter or thing without which the matter is misleading. The heading for this subdivision (136.1) of Division 136 is ‘Knowledge’. A similar provision (with a lesser penalty) applies for those who do so, not knowingly, but ‘recklessly’.

    Division 137: A person commits an offence if they give information to another person knowing that the information is false or misleading or omits any matter or thing without which the information is misleading…

    [Both of these Divisions have the common element of ‘knowing’ or intentionality. This is, in some parts, expressed by the term ‘absolute liability’.]

    Division 144: A person commits an offence if the person makes a false document with the intention to induce … a public officer to accept it as genuine … in order to dishonestly gain, cause a loss … of public duty or function…

    [This Division has the heading of “Forgery’.]

    Comment: I’m not in the position to be able to comment on each of the various situations within the array of Federal Parliamentarians currently under the Section 44 microscope. Were offences committed? And are you asking whether some of our Federal Parliamentarians – apart from Eric Abetz – committed them, or are your questions involving the Criminal Code 1995 pointed particularly at Eric Abetz? I’m not sure, however, I can make some comments about the situation of Eric Abetz. I think from what I’ve seen, that he was no longer a German citizen, once he became a naturalised Australian, in the 1970s, I think it was. You have asked whether/or you have suggested, John, that the 20-odd-years-later carbon copy of German citizenship renunciation was perhaps a fake. And in your article here on TT, I think you again raise this ‘fake’ business by referring to Division 144 … i.e., forgeries. In a recent article here on Tasmanian Times, you gave a number of reasons/arguments supporting the possibility that Abetz’s ‘carbon copy’ of renunciation might well have been a fake … written after the fact. I didn’t find those reasons/arguments convincing, though I could not reject them. You could be right, John, but equally, you might be wrong. Did Eric Abetz forge that ‘carbon copy’? I can’t say … but if he had done so, it would be an irony … since in my own view he was no longer a German citizen – years before he entered our parliament and years before that typed ‘carbon copy’ was apparently produced.

    To conclude, John: your article largely had to do with our Criminal Code. I think that with respect to the recent developments (and even with regard to those earlier questions around the validity of Abetz’s entry into the Senate) we cannot say whether or not a particular candidate/member was guilty of offences against Divisions 136 and 137 of our Criminal Code unless we can definitely accept that their transgressions were knowing/intentional. That observation of mine relates to offences under that Act, but it does not help us decide which of our parliamentarians sit validly in our parliament. That’s a question to be decided via different criteria. And further, if Mr Abetz’s leaving an ‘h’ off the end of his (German) Christian name upon naturalisation, or erroneously putting the Remembrance Day date in place of the date of his naturalisation (hope I haven’t named the wrong event) and one or two other discrepancies … then we need to decide whether these matters were knowing/intentional and designed to deceive.

    By the way, I think Jon (Sumby) might have been wrong if (off the top of my head ) as I recall he wrote, that the fines had been removed. From what I’ve seen, the fines mentioned in the Constitution (in then Australian Pounds) are now expressed in the Criminal Code in our Australian Dollars … i.e. $200 for the offence before the complaint was brought, and then $200 per day for every day after the suit that the member continues to invalidly sit in the parliament.

    – Gotta go, there are a couple of other things that I need to do, and I haven’t got a proper opportunity to give this subject the full attention that it deserves.

  4. Robin Charles Halton

    September 4, 2017 at 11:08 pm

    #18 beleive me, Ms Hickey is particularly well equipped for dealing with difficult people both on the giving and on the receiving end.

    The Liberals need a good boot camp boost if they are ever to make it to the next election and that is from both a State level here in Tasmania as well as at a Federal representation level!

    Ms Hickey is juggling a damn lot at present with Council over funding for Carols, Taste, Dark Mofo. Ten Days and Winterfest, like it or not something may have to be given up or reduced; a its a hard bargaining game for the Council with the State government who may be genuinely short of funds to.

    Personally I reckon its a bit overdone with the Arts and Culture stuff as some of it is only crappy imported filler performences, supposedly to keep the more appealing warmer weather tourist visitation economy alive!

    Time to remember the good times that require a revolving door of public money particularly from ratepayers who are finding the basic CoL a pinch, one could expect Council to make some sacrifices.

  5. Rom

    September 4, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    #17 The liberal party needs renewal, for sure, but not from this source. If a male, supposedly representing everyone, stood up and abused the female half the population in the way this twat did, he’d be flayed alive. Why should it be different for madam Hick?

    Political correctness is crap, and so is her attitude. I have no time for liberals and even less for her.

  6. Robin Charles Halton

    September 4, 2017 at 2:59 am

    #15, You are not very observant are you!
    Of cause Hickey is sexist, she needs to be for putting up with Zucco and that old fuddy duddy former Mayor Thomas who threw enormous amounts of ratepayer money into Myer and there is probably more to come.

    When Hickey decides to make the change into State politics, for which I hope she does then she will up against the likes of Controller Abetz and the McQuestion thug, both of whom exercise too much control over the party as a whole.

    The Liberals badly need renewal Hickey as a strong “sexist” would be able to save the Hodgman old boys club from itself.

    Even a bit of a punch up wouldnt go astray to put some old fashioned common sense back into the Tasmanian Liberals.

    Rom, dont ever talk modern weak minded political correctness to me!

  7. Rom

    September 3, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    #15
    What kind of an idiot would vote for a Rowdy Dowdy misandrist twat like Hickey? At best she’s sexist, at worst, the best possible liberal candidate… completely out of touch with reality.

  8. Robin Charles Halton

    September 3, 2017 at 2:30 am

    Hope that John does not mind but the Abetz case is becoming utterly boring!

    The latest political news reveals that Hobart Lord Mayor Sue Hickey could run as a high profile Liberal candidate in the State seat of Franklin.

    We all know that Hickey’s pre selection would be a bold move by the Liberals,

    Its a bloody ripper, as Hodgman is seen as a weak leader and his time could be up as Premier too!
    One of his Franklin side slips for his numbers game is Jacquie Petrusma who is potentially a weak performer and Nic Street who is virtually non existent.

    If the Liberals find the pressure to great for their brothers and sisters in arms to accept Sue then look out she also has another ace up her sleeve that could weaken the Liberal stance to govern solo!

    Surprises galore folks!

  9. Rom

    September 2, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    Ha! you will never get to imprison these bastards for their offences… it would lower the tone of the prisons…

  10. Barney in Saigon

    September 2, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    phill,

    Any election between now and completion of the redistribution in SA, ACT and Vic would be conducted with a mini redistribution to bring House numbers up to 151.

  11. O'Brien

    September 2, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    “A professional politician is a professionally dishonorable man. In order to get anywhere near high office he has to make so many compromises and submit to so many humiliations that he becomes indistinguishable from a streetwalker.” (H.L. Mencken)

  12. O'Brien

    September 2, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    “Politicians are mostly those too lacking in both morals and ethics to remain lawyers.”
    (George Martin 1948-)

  13. Jon Sumby

    September 2, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    No 8, John,
    That law is legislation passed in 1975, when Abetz was 17 years old. He had nothing to do with it.

    I made no comment to indicate a belief that the law was, ‘removed from the Statute Book by Pollies to benefit Pollies‘.

    This is my final comment on the mattter

  14. phill Parsons

    September 2, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    Another reason for an early election is the proposed redistribution of seats that on the surface favors Labor.

    The redistribution is not completed so a lower house election this year may be on the old boundaries.

  15. John Hawkins

    September 1, 2017 at 11:01 pm

    Thankyou Jon Sumby.

    Is this the result of another Abetzian effort when Special Minister of State (2001 – 2006) to remove the penalties under Section 46 enacted in 2008 that might affect his way of life if prosecuted at sometime in the future?

    I agree with Jon the fines for sitting illegally in the Senate appear to have been removed from the Statute Book by Pollies to benefit Pollies.

    WHY?

    Perhaps Senator Abetz would care to comment.

    An Act to make other Provision with respect to the Matter in respect of which Provision is made by section 46 of the Constitution
    1 Short title [see Note 1]
    This Act may be cited as the Common Informers (Parliamentary Disqualifications) Act 1975.
    2 Commencement [see Note 1]
    This Act shall come into operation on the day on which it receives the Royal Assent.
    3 Penalty for sitting when disqualified
    (1) Any person who, whether before or after the commencement of this Act, has sat as a senator or as a member of the House of Representatives while he or she was a person declared by the Constitution to be incapable of so sitting shall be liable to pay to any person who sues for it in the High Court a sum equal to the total of:
    (a) $200 in respect of his or her having so sat on or before the day on which the originating process in the suit is served on him or her; and
    (b) $200 for every day, subsequent to that day, on which he or she is proved in the suit to have so sat.
    (2) A suit under this section shall not relate to any sitting of a person as a senator or as a member of the House of Representatives at a time earlier than 12 months before the day on which the suit is instituted.
    (3) The High Court shall refuse to make an order in a suit under this Act that would, in the opinion of the Court, cause the person against whom it was made to be penalized more than once in respect of any period or day of sitting as a senator or as a member of the House of Representatives.
    4 Suits not to be brought under section 46 of the Constitution
    On and after the date of commencement of this Act, a person is not liable to pay any sum under section 46 of the Constitution and no suit shall be instituted, continued, heard or determined in pursuance of that section.
    5 Jurisdiction
    Original jurisdiction is conferred on the High Court in suits under this Act and no other court has jurisdiction in such a suit.

  16. Jon Sumby

    September 1, 2017 at 9:24 pm

    I wouldn’t bother with Section 46, it is redundant and replaced.

    The first phrase in the sentence is, ‘Until the Parliament otherwise provides‘.

    Parliament has provided and that is the Common Informers (Parliamentary Disqualifications) Act 1975.
    This has a new set of penalties and Section 4 of that Act specifically excludes the use of Section 46.

    http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdb/au/legis/cth/consol_act/cida1975507/

  17. philll Parsons

    September 1, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    # decisions. As I allude, it may not make it to a decision of the Court.

  18. Mark Temby

    September 1, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    Without going into detailed research, JohnH, I think you will find an offence does not have to attract charge and be proven in court. Usually it is a matter of having committed an offence that is punishable by imprisonment. A false or misleading statement does not have degrees of intent like carelessness, recklessness or deliberation. Reasonableness will be determined by the High Court and, if reasonable steps were not taken, a false or misleading statement is the ensuing reality. This false or misleading statement is punishable by imprisonment but imprisonment is not necessarily required.

  19. Simon Warriner

    September 1, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    John, in matters regarding the interpretation of “the law”, due and careful consideration must be made of the interests being served, and as Evan Whitton so ably demonstrates, Justice is but one, and often the least, of those interests.

    It will be very interesting to see what decision is arrived at and why.

  20. Mike Bolan

    September 1, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    Nice work John! It seems that the offence is far more serious than the Libs wish to admit. Preventing offending MPs from sitting in parliament for ‘the term of their natural lives’ could be a Godsend for Australians if the likes of Eric were found guilty! It’s also interesting that Turnbull (who surely should know better) has been trying the “ignorance of the law” defence.

  21. Chris

    September 1, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    If you have got money in the Caymans and you are under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to the Caymans, which is a foreign power, would such rights and privileges and being a subject, as a result, disqualify you from being a member of the Australian Parliament?
    Will the Fizza refer himself or will he so find otherwise?

    Sect 44. Any person who –

    (i.) Is under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or citizen of a foreign power: or

  22. phill Parsons

    September 1, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    For those close to the action the decision of the High Court sitting as a Court of Disputed Returns is likely to be known before it is announced.

    Turnbull has a potential dilemma in that the Court has the power to make Windsor the elected member because Joyce was ineligible to stand. No chance of a by-election there.

    Then Windsor is the member until the next election due in 2 years.

    Turnbull can take Gillard’s Slipper solution if he can find an independent who would sit as the Speaker and have the current Speaker return to the bench to create the majority of 1.

    He could also deal furiously to retain the support of those same independents.

    Finally, he could go round to Yarralumla and ask the GG for a lower house only election to resolve the question of a majority, especially if he cannot do a deal.

    You may be able to measure this by the campaign noise and attacks on Shorten and Labor although this may also be Turnbull trying to regain popularity for himself and his Party in the polls that regularly put his opponents ahead.

    Six weeks of tension, with some sittings, will build tension around a question that would now be being resolved had Barnaby resigned and stood for re-election.

    Even without a pair, the government could have strugled through because it would have had the support of at least 2 independents.

    Born to rule Liberals and history writ in stone nationals were unable to take this path and now are trying to bluster through although a number of emininent Constitutional lawyers give them a high probability of losing on this and spending $122M without Parlaimentary approval [the Budget or specific legislation].

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