There was a suggestion on ABCs Insiders yesterday Sunday that, due to the present chaotic state of government brought about primarily by Section 44 of the constitution, parliament should be prorogued.
What does this mean? Prorogation of parliament simply means bring the current session to an end. It does not mean an election follows. Only when parliament is dissolved can an election be held. However, prorogation does mean that no legislation can proceed because when a parliament is prorogued, it cannot meet.
This is important at the moment because the legitimacy of several members that we know of, is in question and more might yet be in question. The issue of dual citizenship has cast a cloud over the legitimacy of legislation passed or intending to be passed.
Until this matter can be properly resolved, any legislation or any major decisions made by members, particularly members who are ministers, can be the subject of a High Court challenge.
Thus, the decision by the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, to allow Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce to remain in his ministerial role is fraught with danger. Section 44 of the Constitution is unambiguous. Any person holding the citizenship of another country is not eligible to be in parliament. Therefore any member whose citizenship makes their election invalid should not be permitted to vote on any issue.
All subsequent claims by those affected that they did not know, that they only have loyalty to Australia, that it wasn’t of their doing, that it was their mother’s fault or their father’s fault, that it was another country’s fault and so on, ignores one basic premise, namely, that ignorance of the law is no excuse.
Frankly, the excuses offered by all, except the two Greens senators, have been pathetic. Thus, if the government wants to avoid lengthy High Court complications that might, even now, see a number of legislative items overturned, it should prorogue parliament right now.
Parliament should not sit again until such time as matters relevant to Section 44 are resolved. Better still, dissolve parliament and call an election. Thus, any candidate who cannot verify that they are not a citizen of another country, cannot stand.
It’s not rocket science!