PRIME Minister Malcolm Turnbull has threatened to refer the dual citizens in Labor's ranks to the High Court if there's strong evidence they are ineligible to sit in Parliament.
Fresh from arriving in Vietnam for trade talks with United States president Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mr Turnbull resolved to refer Liberal, Labor and crossbench MPs to the High Court to determine if they're dual citizens.
A fired-up Mr Turnbull condemned Labor leader Bill Shorten for asking him to protect the Labor MPs under a citizenship cloud, by not referring them to the High Court
"It really is a bit rich for Mr Shorten to say to me the Government shouldn't vote to refer them," he said.
"We will vote to refer to the High Court anybody whether they're on the Government side, Labor side or the crossbenchers if there are substantial grounds to believe they're not in compliance with the Constitution.
"To ask me to do anything else is quite unworthy and I'm disappointed he made that request and he even thought that was a proper thing to do. The principle we have to uphold is compliance with the constitution."
Mr Turnbull further laid into Mr Shorten for protecting Labor MPs like Tasmanian Justine Keay who were British citizens when they nominated for Parliament, and thus in breach of the Constitution.
"It's very straightforward. I was disappointed that Mr Shorten asked me to agree not to refer MPs of his to the High Court even though they were admittedly British citizens at the time they nominated for parliament," he said.
"The constitution says you should only be an Australian citizen, so these were not people who didn't know they were British citizens. These were people who knew they were British citizens but haven't got their paperwork done in time to cease to be British citizens at the time they nominated."
Mr Turnbull said if he and Shorten were unable to reach an agreement on the best strategy to scrutinise the citizenship of politicians, the Government wold go ahead and introduce its resolution to the House of Representativs and Senate when Parliament returned later this month.
"The important thing is that there is full disclosure and that that is done in a way that enables the House and the senate to form a judgment as to whether to refer people," he said.
Mr Turnbull made the comments as he arrived in Vietnam for the economic and trade summit, APEC.
The key focus of the talks today will be securing a new trade agreement, after United States President Donald Trump walked away from the TPP in a pre-election commitment a year ago.
"We'll be seeking to take forward the TPP11, the Trans Pacific Partnership with 11 countries, obviously not the United States after the Trump administration decided to pull out," he said, noting it was equivalent to entering into 19 new free trade agreements that would benefit agriculture and our economy.
After APEC tomorrow, Mr Turnbull will travel to the East Asia Summit in the Philippines, which has been battling an ISIS insurgency, where the focus will be on terrorism and regional security.
"Of course there's the looming challenge from North Korea dangerous threats of nuclear war, so there's a lot to talk about, a lot to resolve," he said.