New Zealand Markets closed

Turnbull to hold press conference

 

Malcolm Turnbull is expected to put concerns over the legitimacy of his government behind him and go ahead with a trip to Israel.

He'll hold a press conference in Sydney at 12.40pm on Saturday where it's believed he will outline arrangements for government while he is away.

Despite the High Court disqualifying two of his ministers, triggering a by-election, the prime minister is making the first trip to Israel by an Australian leader since 2000.

The key reason for the trip is the centenary of the Battle of Beersheba, but the prime minister will also meet Israeli and Palestinian leadership and attend business events.

The High Court ruled Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and the Nationals deputy leader Fiona Nash were ineligible to stand for the 2016 election because they were dual citizens of New Zealand and Britain respectively.

Mr Joyce now faces a December 2 by-election in his NSW seat of New England, which he is widely expected to win with his arch-rival Tony Windsor pulling out.

The government will need to tread carefully as its numbers will be temporarily reduced to 75 in the 150-seat parliament.

Independent Cathy McGowan indicated on Friday she would support the government against any vote of no-confidence and for supply, but gave no guarantees on bills.

Labor says it's not planning any mischief in parliament, but cited weekend penalty rates and a royal commission into the banking sector - two issues it lost by one vote previously - as issues it would pursue when the House of Representatives returns on November 27.

Nationals senator Matt Canavan has returned to cabinet as resources minister after the court ruled he was not disqualified for election.

Mr Turnbull told reporters the business of government would go on.

The court also disqualified former Greens senators Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters and One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts, but not independent Nick Xenophon.

Section 44 of Australia's constitution bans anyone holding dual citizenship from sitting in parliament, in a section aimed at ensuring MPs do not hold split allegiances.

Labor says the prime minister was "reckless" in allowing Mr Joyce and Senator Nash to retain their cabinet posts while the court decided their fate.

Labor has advice that decisions made by the two ministers and their colleague Senator Canavan since October 2016 could be challenged in court under section 64 of the constitution.

The section provides that "no minister of state shall hold office for a longer period than three months unless he is or becomes a senator or member of the House of Representatives".