High Court decision: Hollie Hughes not eligible to replace Fiona Nash in Senate

The High Court deliberated over the eligibility of Hollie Hughes to take disqualified National deputy leader Fiona Nash’s position in the Senate. Shortly after 3.30pm on Wednesday, a decision was made, deeming her ineligible. 

No sooner was the decision announced, that Twitter was abuzz with conflicting reports regarding the verdict.

Legal experts doubted the eligibility of the NSW Liberal candidate as she held an “office of profit under the Crown” until a fortnight ago, disqualifying her from sitting in the Senate.

These experts view her prior work on the Administrative Appeals Tribunal as running afoul of section 44 of the Constitution. 

Hughes’ solicitor-general Stephen Donoghue argued that her appointment to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal a year later was not in breach of the law.

The High Court heard that the Liberal candidate should be eligible to replace Nash as a senator, even if someone wanted to contest this decision in the future. 

Nash was disqualified on October 27 due to her dual citizenship status that is in breach of section 44 of the Australian Constitution. 

A special count by the Australian Electoral Commission resulted in a win for Ms Hughes, the next candidate in line after Ms Nash. 

Arguments were heard from both sides in this first case of its kind. 

Following Hughes’ disqualification from taking Nash’s seat, speculation mounted regarding Nash’s replacement.

More to come