Opinion: Section 44 of the constitution does not mean that nobody is eligible to be elected to parliament

August 18, 2017

Constitutional crisis: Lorraine Finlay calls for sense on interpreting Section 44.

The investigations into the eligibility of elected politicians to serve as members of Parliament under Section 44 of the constitution has caused a great deal of upheaval. A recent reading of this law has suggested that every single parliamentarian could be affected.

In an opinion piece for The Huffington Post, Murdoch University constitutional law expert Lorraine Finlay urges everyone to take a deep breath.

“While section 44 is undoubtedly causing some sleepless nights for our Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, it does not mean that nobody is eligible to be elected to the Australian Parliament,” Ms Finlay said.

“This more limited interpretation is consistent with the original intention of the section, which was to ensure that members of the Australian Parliament had an undivided loyalty to Australia and would not be subject to any improper influence from foreign governments.

“The upcoming hearings provide an opportunity for the High Court to clarify the outer reaches of section 44. But, for all of the controversy surrounding this issue in recent weeks, it is already clear that section 44 is not so broad that it disqualifies everybody from the Australian Parliament.

To read the full article, click here.

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Media contact: Pepita Smyth
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