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Peter Dutton’s eligibility explained

Article image for Peter Dutton’s eligibility explained

Questions are still swirling as to whether former home affairs minister Peter Dutton is eligible to sit in parliament.

Mr Dutton’s business interests could put him in breach of Section 44 of the Constitution.

The Liberal MP, who is gearing up for a leadership challenge, has financial ties to two Brisbane child-care centres which are receiving subsidies from the federal government.

Mr Dutton says he’s sought legal advice and has been given the all-clear, but changes to legislation this year has put those assurances in doubt.

UNSW Law Dean Professor George Williams tells Chris Smith there’s “no clear answer” but Mr Dutton shouldn’t be feeling confident.

“I’m not convinced that he would be struck out if it goes to the High Court. But I’m not convinced he’d survive either.

“It’s a line-ball decision and that’s why you’ve got people arguing it both ways.

“In the end, there’s only one way to know whether he is eligible to stay in parliament and (the High Court).

“Until they rule, unfortunately, he’s going to have this cloud over whether he’s entitled to be an MP, let alone a prime minister.”

Professor Williams says if the matter is taken to the High Court it would be resolved in a matter of weeks.

Click PLAY below for the full interview 

The Attorney-General Christian Porter has referred the matter to the Solicitor-General, who will advise the Prime Minister of his findings tomorrow.

A party room meeting is expected to be held at 12pm on Friday, where it’s likely Mr Dutton will contest the Liberal leadership.

If a spill motion is carried, the Prime Minister has vowed not to contest the leadership. He will resign if he is ousted.

Chris Smith