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Oops, The High Court Has An Issue With George Brandis Giving Out A Plum AAT Job

Hollie Hughes might be ineligible to replace Fiona Nash.

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Lukas Coch / AAP

The full bench of the High Court will consider whether potential Liberal senator Hollie Hughes is eligible under the constitution to replace ditched Nationals deputy Fiona Nash on Wednesday next week.

Nash was one of five politicians booted from the parliament last month, along with then-deputy PM Barnaby Joyce and former senators Scott Ludlam, Larissa Waters, and Malcolm Roberts, in the highly-anticipated ruling on citizenship.

On Friday morning, the High Court formally announced the replacements for three of the four vacant Senate seats. (Joyce, the only MP, is currently fighting a by-election in New England.)

But Justice Stephen Gageler said the full court should consider the eligibility of Hughes, who has a question mark over her head because of a government position she was appointed to in between unsuccessfully running for election and Nash's dismissal.

Hughes was appointed to a seven-year stint on the Administrative Appeals Tribunal – a taxpayer-funded gig – this year by attorney general George Brandis. But in order to be eligible to run for or hold office under Section 44, you cannot hold an office of profit under the crown.

She resigned from the tribunal last month on the day of the High Court judgment that ruled Nash ineligible to be elected, but as a result of even taking the job, it could still affect her ability to stand.

The matter is listed for hearing before the full court at 10.15am on November 15.

The other senators were replaced without incident – Ludlam by Jordon Steele-John, Waters by Andrew Bartlett and Roberts by Fraser Anning. They will be sworn in to the Senate on Monday.

A new Senate president will be elected to replace Stephen Parry, who resigned last week after discovering he was a dual citizen of Britain by descent from his father.

Lane Sainty is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney, Australia.

Contact Lane Sainty at

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