The Joyce and Dutton cases compared

The Barnaby Joyce and Peter Dutton cases unfolded in very different ways.
The Barnaby Joyce and Peter Dutton cases unfolded in very different ways.

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.

Australian Associated Press