Conspiracy theories are so de rigueur, just ask Julie Bishop 😉 Yesterday we entered day two of #BroGate and mate, didn’t the Government double down on the whole “OMG! Treason! Bill Shorten and the Labor Government conspired with a foreign power”. Oh, I know, #Auspol tragics pretty much all sit back and chortle at the atmospheric levels of hysteria the Government are trying to whip up. Consensus seems to be that it is a distraction to avert the focus on the fact that well, our Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce was also a Kiwi, but… Bear with me here, I could just be channelling my inner Malcolm Roberts, but, what if there is a grain of truth to it, sort of?
Julie Bishop: “The Australian Labor party set up the New Zealand government!"— Mark Di Stefano 🤙🏻 (@MarkDiStef) August 16, 2017
Grab your tin foil hats lads.
Now this tweet yesterday got me thinking. Just about every Press Gallery journalist has been shaking their heads - some actually snorting in derision – at the recent attacks by the Government, and Julie Bishop in particular that have now embroiled New Zealand in our internal politics. I have to agree, it seems so laughable, in fact, watching the news the other night, two friends who are non political were actually laughing out loud as the piece showing Julie Bishop thundering ‘treason’ in her press conference. So why persist? Why persist along such a ridiculous line of attack?
Looking at the timeline of what occurred here, I’m wondering if the Coalition are actually attacking the ALP for what they themselves were actively engaged in?
Let’s face it, regardless of all the ‘best mates’ chat, we in Australia and particularly our Government, treat the Kiwis as annoying little cousins who sometimes overstay their welcome a tad too long. If you have ever lived in New Zealand, you will find they are not such big fans of us either, and the chip on their shoulder in regard to us, is actually pretty much warranted. Don’t believe me? Check out this statement made on The Project NZ by Jesse Mulligan:
Just last month we gave our ‘best mate’ John Key, recent former New Zealand Prime Minister, our highest honour, and Honorary Companion in the Order of Australia. Key might have been a great bloke, good New Zealand Prime Minister, but, you don’t get the highest Australian gong for being a good bloke, you get it for exemplary service, to AUSTRALIA. Unless I’ve missed something in the past decade, what the hell has John Key done for Australia? We have not been at war and Key came charging to our rescue with their armed forces? We didn’t have any sort of situation where the kiwis pulled us out of shit? Quite frankly, I can’t see any reason why we would give this bloke more than a nice dinner next time he visits for being a constructive ally over the ditch? I assume he got it, as probably more than any other recent Kiwi Prime Minister, did Australia’s bidding when requested, quietly and without fanfare.
Sorry, not dissing the Kiwis - hell, I married one - but let’s be honest here, Julie Bishop was so affronted that a process in the New Zealand government could have interfered in our own internal political games? Julie Bishop went as far to say:
“Should there be a change of government, I would find it very hard to build trust with those involved in allegations designed to undermine the government of Australia."
In hindsight, looking at what has happened in recent days, maybe this was more of a “How dare these upstarts not know their place. New Zealand governments are supposed to be compliant pets that do our bidding”.
Let me explain…
When Scott Ludlam resigned on the 13th of July, followed quickly by Larissa Waters on the 18th of July, both sprung by the s44(i) trap, there is no way in hell that every single MP and Senator was not having their eligibility to sit in the big house scrutinised to the max. It is the only reason old mate Matt Canavan came out with his mama mea culpa, standing down from his Ministry position pending a High Court decision? I find it terribly difficult to believe that Barnaby Joyce would not have been included in that internal scrutiny, particularly considering one of his parents was a foreigner?
I’ve lost count of the number of times I saw Joyce assuring media he was a dinky di Aussie, but seriously, this Government could not be that incompetent, given the current spotlight on citizenship, not to be checking out old mate Barnes credentials?
Now Ms Bishop herself pretty much confirmed in question time that the basis of their claims is that the question put to the New Zealand parliament by NZ Labour MP Chris Hipkins about whether an Australian born to a New Zealand parent, in Australia, was still a New Zealand citizen, meant that this question HAD to be answered.
We know that blogger William Summers put this question to the New Zealand authorities late July, specifically asking about Barnaby Joyce. We also know that Fairfax Media journalists Adam Gartrell and Amy Remeikis also hit up the NZ authorities on this question, though, and this is really really important, there is absolutely no onus on the Kiwis to confirm these queries at all. They could have quite nicely just pointed them in the direction of their handy “Check if you are a citizen” web page and politely declined to confirm or deny status of any particular individual.
This stance would have stymied further investigation as the journalists would have been back to stage 1 where they are just accepting ‘assurances’ of the MP involved, who I remind you, had already told media heaps of times he was sweet.
This is where it all went wrong. Knowing the citizenship dramas over the ditch, THAT question in New Zealand parliament must have seriously set off alarm bells ringing, and unlike a few pesky journo’s, it has to be legally answered. In fact, the Minister for Internal Affairs, Peter Dunne, would have had to return to the chamber today to answer that question, so the gig would have well & truly been up.
We also now know that Barnaby Joyce was actually informed by the Kiwis last Thursday the 10th of August and he started renunciation proceedings over the weekend, BUT, he didn’t advise the Australian public until he convened a hasty (non scheduled) press conference announcing his dodgy citizenship status until Monday when Fairfax media sent him an email telling his office they were going to print.
In fact, Mr Joyce’s office were refusing to confirm anything with Fairfax and I find this statement most telling:
“But Smith told us he would only respond to an on-the-record response from the New Zealand high commission. We explained they hadn't given us one yet but we still believed the story was strong enough run.”
Were the New Zealand high commission told by the Australian Government NOT to respond to any media requests in regard to the status of Australian MPs citizenship status?
Look, I don’t know if Penny Wong’s Chief of Staff was just gossiping with an old Kiwi mate in the same industry, as we all do, or if this was some sort of men in grey suits Machiavellian manoeuvre done by staffers. Without the knowledge of Wong or Shorter to give them plausible deniability, and force the Kiwis into either confirming or denying the Kiwi dad citizenship ramification issues. To be honest, I don’t care less. I feel for the kiwis if they were inadvertently pulled into some evil Labor political game, BUT, it is most definitely in our public interest to know if our Deputy Prime Minister is not eligible to sit in Parliament, particularly in a Government who has a majority of only ONE!
Without that question by Chris Hipkins, which forced an ON-THE RECORD response, with a deadline of today, would we, the Australian public still be none the wiser about Barnaby Joyce?
Is this the real reason for the anger of the Australian Government?
The question has to be asked, are the Australian Government, particularly our Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop (who would have been point person for dealing with the NZ Government) so feral and going so hard on this issue because they were quietly in the background trying to fix up Joyce’s status, hoping no-one would ever find out – remember the Kiwis are our best mates so they would not be announcing a Joyce renunciation – and just carry on as usual, with us all oblivious, maybe finding out some time in the distant future, when it is no longer relevant and could not affect this current Government?
ALL MPs and Senators have ASSURED the Australian public they are legit, by signing their forms. ALL MPs and Senators still ASSURE the Australian public they are legit even under this spotlight of citizenship scrutiny, yet we now have no less than FIVE who have been found to have problems complying with s44(i) of our Constitution? Some, I think honestly are fine, though as Waters found out, laws change, therefore we really do need an audit. As these ASSURANCES really mean squat, as even if the MP in question is being earnest, they could just be misinformed or ignorant of what their real status is.
I think it goes to a question of character that Barnaby Joyce has not stepped down from his position at the least, at the very least – personally I think he should have resigned – and the only way the Government can regain the trust of the Australian people is to have a full and thorough ‘Independent’ and I mean truly independent, audit of every single MP and Senator.
At it stands, I no longer accept ‘assurances’ of any of them. I want Journalists to actually see the documentation on every single one of them. The likes of Joyce proudly announcing the NZ Government has now confirmed his renunciation means squat. FFS! He was a dual citizen when he stepped into the big house, so was never eligible to sit that seat. As we know HOW, WHEN & WHY actually matters.
This Government has form for treating Australians as suspects before citizens in all aspects from odious Metadata laws to Centrelink’s robodebt #NotMyDebt victims, so they deserve to be treated by that same standard themselves.
I suspect there are more dual citizens currently sitting in our Government. I don’t care if the law is archaic in a multicultural Australia, that is a distraction to be discussed at a later time, this is currently our law and we trust these people to make life and death decisions on our behalf and if they are too lazy, arrogant or lacking attention to detail that they can’t be bothered making a phone call or asking a question to fill out the paperwork on their job application properly, well, they just don’t deserve to sit there and should be punted.
I also question if Ms Bishop and the Australian government are so feral about this whole #BroGate saga is because they themselves were conspiring with the New Zealand government to bury this Joyce citizenship ticking time bomb until they had devised a water tight strategy to defuse it?
AND they could have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for those pesky Labo(u)r kids?
Just a thought 😉