The High Court has done a great job in messing up Australian democracy with its absurdly literalistic reading of the Constitutional provisions on dual citizenship. It’s now added another layer of disaster with its refusal to hear Labor’s attempt to have Liberal MP David Gillespie disqualified on the basis that he rented space to an Australia Post outlet.
Of course, this case is utterly lacking in merit. Had the High Court heard it, and thrown it out without retiring for consideration, I’d be cheering them on.
In fact, however, they refused to hear the case because Labor couldn’t get the Parliament to refer the case, relying instead on a “common informer”.
So, we are now in the position where a Parliamentary majority can move to disqualify anyone on the opposing side, and the High Court will assess whether they have breached any of the byzantine rules they have constructed, rules that might potentially disqualify anyone who has ever taken money from the government, or had foreign born parents, or is Jewish, or can’t document every aspect of their ancestry back to the Paelolithic era. But if there is no such majority, it seems that there is no recourse.
What’s worse is my total confidence that there will be lots of comments explaining how the High Court has protected us from the risk that someone might serve in Parliament despite getting their paperwork wrong.