Are you a Kwaussie? The trending word could spell disaster for politicians

The citizenship crisis has engulfed a number of MPs who claim to have unknowingly held dual citizenship, and threatens more with politicians given a deadline of this week to come clean about their status.

Are you a Kwaussie? The trending word could spell disaster for politicians

It had been used sparingly in the past to describe a dual citizen of Australia and New Zealand, but took on a new lease of life when Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce found out he also had Kiwi citizenship in August.

Russell Crowe
Actors Ryan Gosling (L) and Russell Crowe. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

He was the highest profile scalp of a constitutional provision barring dual citizens from serving in federal parliament, with eight lawmakers forced to resign so far.

"In a time of covfefe, fake news, and tweetstorms, the Australian National Dictionary Centre has looked for a word of the year that is both lexically interesting and Australian," the centre's director Amanda Laugesen said in a statement.

Barnaby Joyce
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce during House of Representatives question time at Parliament House on August 17, 2017 in Canberra, Australia. Justice Minister is the latest MP to have questions raised over his possible dual citizenship following revelations on Monday that deputy Prime Minister was a dual Australian and New Zealand citizen. Dual citizenship, which is prohibited for members of Parliament under the constitution, has already forced two Greens senators - Scott Ludlum and Larissa Waters - to quit and Nationals senator Matt Canavan to resign as resources minister. (Photo by Stefan Postles/Getty Images)

Laugesen said "Kwaussie" was first used in 2002 to describe actor Russell Crowe.

"He was described as a Kwaussie -- what you get when you cross a Kiwi who can't decide whether they're a Kiwi or an Aussie," she said.

"Subsequent evidence suggests its use is predominantly Australian, found chiefly in social media, and also found with spelling variants including Kwozzie and Kwozzy.

"Thanks to the two Kwaussies identified as ineligible to sit in parliament -- Barnaby Joyce and Greens Senator Scott Ludlam -- the term is now becoming better known."

Joyce automatically acquired New Zealand citizenship through his father, and was forced to contest a by-election at the weekend, which he won comfortably.

The citizenship crisis has engulfed a number of MPs who claim to have unknowingly held dual citizenship, and threatens more with politicians given a deadline of this week to come clean about their status.

The Australian National Dictionary Centre is a major centre for lexicographical research, conducting research into Australian English and editing dictionaries.

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