PRIME Minister Malcolm Turnbull has talked down reports that his government in chaos in the wake of yesterday's High Court decision, despite the fact that he is now without a Deputy Prime Minister.
"I know it sells more newspapers and attracts more clicks to have dramatic headlines and all sorts of harum-scarum stuff in the media ... It's a bit dull to say, I guess, that good government is continuing, but that's the truth."
Due to fly out to Israel today to attend commemorations for the centenary of the Battle of Beersheba, Mr Turnbull earlier announced that Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will act as Prime Minister in his absence.
Mr Turnbull confirmed that the position of Deputy Prime Minister will not be filled for the time being - a situation that Sky News said had not arisen in Australian politics since 1968.
The Prime Minister was also forced to defend the government's decision not to stand Barnaby Joyce and Fiona Nash down from the ministry when their dual citizenship status first became known.
"The decision we took collectively, for them to continue to serve was based on our advice from the Solicitor-General," he said.
"Now, as it turned out, the court ... took a different course, as courts are entitled to do.
"A lot of people - a lot of law professors said we would lose the case over the same-sex marriage marriage survey; we won that 7-0. But on this case with Fiona and Barnaby we were unsuccessful.
"The court has taken a very, very strict and literal interpretation of the section
"We were disappointed by the decision, but ... the Constitution is for the High Court to interpret and nobody else."
BARNABY JOYCE HITS THE HUSTINGS IN NEW ENGLAND
BARNABY Joyce says votes he made before he was booted from parliament are legitimate despite Labor threatening that several new laws are "under a legal cloud".
Mr Joyce was unanimously endorsed this afternoon at the Nationals Party Meeting at Glen Innes.
Emerging smiling in his trademark akubra hat from the local RSL club he said he was "humbled" at the opportunity and enjoyed being in his own electorate more than Canberra.
"I am very humbled that the New England people have found it in their hearts to say I should have another crack at this," Mr Joyce said.
He defended his decision to stay on as the member for New England while waiting for the High Court decision despite admitting he had doubts he would be ruled eligible.
"Staying in parliament means serving the people. Staying in parliament means doing your job. Staying in parliament means you are not going to put people up for the cost of a byelection if you don't need to," he said.
He said he believed that every vote he had made in parliament was legitimate, despite Labor threatening to challenge his decisions.
"You become a member of parliament with all that you are entitled to do on the declaration of the polls once you win the seat," he said.
"And you remain to do so until one of three events occur: those are that you die, resign or are declared ineligible by the high court. That is the law and that is the law you work with."
WILL LABOR MOVE ON BANKING ROYAL COMMISSION?
DEPUTY Opposition leader Tanya Plibersek earlier confirmed that Labor will consider moving a
motion on a banking royal commission when parliament resumes.
Ms Plibersek said Labor would "fight hard" in the coming week.
"You can expect us to represent our values, and the people who rely on Labor. You can expect us to fight hard," she said.
Asked whether Labor would move any motions on a banking royal commission, she replied: "We will consider this option ... There is no secret that we support a banking Royal Commission."
Weekend penalty rates would be another area that Labor would focus on, she said.
Friday's High Court decision affected bank stocks on fears a loss of the government's parliamentary majority might strengthen Labor's hand in forcing a royal commission.
Ms Plibersek confirmed that Labor would field a candidate in the December 2 by-election, but conceded that as the party won just 7 per cent of the primary vote in the last federal election, "it would take something pretty extraordinary for us to win the seat".
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