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Citizenship MPs to learn their fate this Friday with High Court due to hand down verdicts

Day of reckoning: Barnaby Joyce in parliament.

Day of reckoning: Barnaby Joyce in parliament. Photo: ABC

The fate of seven federal politicians, including Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, will be decided by the High Court on Friday afternoon in Canberra.

Barnaby Joyce, Fiona Nash, Matt Canavan, Nick Xenophon, Malcolm Roberts, Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters all face the possibility of being ruled ineligible to sit in Parliament.

Senators Ludlam and Waters have already quit, while Senator Xenophon is heading back to state politics

The decisions on all seven politicians will be handed down at 2:15pm on Friday.

The so-called Citizenship Seven are facing the possibility of being kicked out of Parliament because they were dual citizens at the time of the last election.

Section 44(1) of the constitution bans foreign nationals from election.

The Commonwealth argued the Deputy Prime Minister would never have known he was a dual citizen of Australia and New Zealand, and should not be punished.

Solicitor-General Stephen Donaghue QC, representing Attorney-General George Brandis, also argued the same position for senators Nash, Canavan and Xenophon.

The former Greens senators did not contest that they had breached the rules, and claimed their fellow politicians should also have been shown the door.

What are the stakes? 

If Mr Joyce is kicked out, he will face a by-election in his New England electorate. Most suggest he will retain the seat.

The senators involved would be replaced by special count of last year’s Senate ballots.

Lawyers for Malcolm Roberts claimed his case to remain in the Upper House was the strongest, despite his almost comically misguided attempts to check with UK authorities if he was a British citizen, after being born in India to a Welsh father.

For Ms Waters and Mr Ludlam, the ruling will determine how they are replaced in the Senate, given they resigned immediately after revealing their foreign status.

Senator Xenophon has already flagged his intention to quit federal politics to run in the South Australian state election next March.

The seven justices of the High Court have been deliberating since October 12.

Chief Justice Susan Kiefel told lawyers for the seven politicians the court was well aware of the need for an urgent decision, but stressed she would not be rushed.

Federal Parliament is not sitting on Friday.

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