National

The Joyce and Dutton cases compared

By AAP Newswire

THE CASES OF BARNABY JOYCE AND PETER DUTTON

BARNABY JOYCE

* Media reports in August 2017 suggest Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce is likely to be disqualified due to his New Zealand dual citizenship - a breach of section 44 of the constitution.

* Joyce looks into it and announces he has advice from NZ High Commission he could hold NZ citizenship by descent.

* Attorney-General says on the basis of solicitor-general advice "the government is confident of the deputy prime minister's position".

* Joyce asks the government to refer him to the High Court and a motion is passed by parliament

* Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull tells colleagues he is "absolutely confident" the High Court will find Joyce eligible to sit.

* On October 26 the High Court disqualifies Joyce, triggering a by-election.

* On December 2 he is comfortably returned in the New England by-election.

PETER DUTTON

* Media reports suggest Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton could be disqualified for holding a direct or indirect pecuniary interest in the Commonwealth through childcare centres operated via a family trust - a breach of section 44 of the constitution.

* Dutton rejects the media reports, saying his own legal advice reveals no issues.

* Labor takes its own initiative to seek a High Court referral in parliament but the motion is defeated by one vote - that of Dutton himself.

* Attorney-general releases solicitor-general advice which talks of 'risks', which could only be properly tested in the High Court, but says on balance Peter Dutton is "not incapable" of sitting in parliament.

* Prime Minister Scott Morrison stands by the minister.

* Labor and Greens weigh up another attempt at a referral, but need the votes of coalition MPs to get the motion passed.